Year 4, Month 3, Day 10: Between Your Ears There’s Just A Great Big Vacu-um

The Washington Post reports on big snows in the West — in Oklahoma & Texas, no less:

Schools and major highways in the Texas Panhandle remained closed for a second day Tuesday. Interstate 27 reopened between Amarillo and Lubbock, about 120 miles to the south, but the Texas National Guard was still working to clear much of Interstate 40 from the Oklahoma border to the New Mexico state line.

Some other roads reopened as sunny conditions began to thaw ice and snow-packed surfaces.

Just a day earlier, whiteout conditions had made virtually all Panhandle roads impassable. A hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded in Amarillo, which got 17 inches. The heaviest snowfall was in Follett, Texas, with 21 inches.

In Oklahoma, 600 snowplows and trucks worked to reopen roads.

Always happy to poke fun at James Inhofe. Sent February 28:

A blizzard? Cue the triumphant shouts from climate-change deniers, as predictable as the weather once was before the metastasizing greenhouse effect began playing havoc with our atmosphere. That it is arch-denialist James Inhofe’s home state that has to cope with tons of unexpected snow adds an extra fillip of irony to the news.

While it’s indeed counterintuitive that a hotter atmosphere can lead to extreme snowstorms, humanity’s intuitions don’t include imaginary numbers, DNA, or radioactivity either (hence the importance of, and the need for, science). Steadily rising global temperatures’ complicated and unobvious effects include heat waves, extreme precipitation, and droughts like the one currently baking Oklahoma’s ground, blizzard or no.

While Senator Inhofe and his denialist fellow-travelers may not grasp how a hotter atmosphere makes once-in-a-century storms more frequent, their rejection of climate science hamstrings our capacity to cope with a national emergency. Ignorance is no foundation for policy.

Warren Senders

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