The ‘New Normal’ That Wasn’t

Guest essay by Dan Sutter

Tornadoes killed 553 Americans in 2011, the deadliest year since 1925.  May 22nd marked the 10th anniversary of the Joplin, Missouri tornado that killed 161, the first triple digit toll since 1953.  The U.S. had been averaging 60 tornado deaths annually.

This death toll shocked the public, weather forecasters, and researchers.  Improvements in weather radar, National Weather Service warnings, and the advent of real-time, street-level tracking had seemingly rendered such death tolls an historical relic. 

Some experts had a ready answer for the devastation: man-made climate change.  Bill McKibben took a tongue-in-cheek tack in The Washington Post, with a headline, “A Link Between Climate Change and Joplin Tornadoes?  Never!”  He opined,

“When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that.” 

Researchers Kevin Trenbeth and Michael Mann also stated that global warming is making tornadoes worse in Grist, saying ‘It’d be irresponsible not to mention climate change’.

When the unexpected happens, researchers need to ask why and examine the data.  Kevin Simmons and I had just published a book on the societal impacts of tornadoes.  We sought to assess whether the 2011 death tolls were due to the tornadoes which occurred, societal vulnerability, or perhaps some other factor.  We published our findings in a book, Deadly Season: Analysis of the 2011 Tornado Outbreaks and a paper in Natural Hazards Review.

Our conclusion: it was the tornadoes.  The total number of tornadoes rated EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale for tornado damage, the highest rating, provides a short answer.  Six EF-5 tornadoes occurred in 2011, including four in Mississippi and Alabama on April 27.  The nation averages less than one per year (59 since 1950), with only one since 2011.  The year’s activity was extreme, but not unprecedented. For instance, seven EF-5’s occurred in the April 3, 1974 tornado outbreak.

Historical ratios of fatalities per injury, per millions of dollars of property damage, or per building damaged provide more detail and context.  For example, prior to 2011, violent tornadoes killed one person for every $20 million of property damage; this and similar ratios held steady in 2011.  The year’s many long-track, violent tornadoes produced enormous damage, with the corresponding casualties.

We further applied statistical models of tornado fatalities we used to examine the impacts of Doppler radar and NWS warnings.  The models controlled for tornado and path characteristics like EF-scale rating, path length, and the numbers of persons and mobile homes in the affected counties.  Plugging the characteristics of 2011 tornadoes into the model would give a fatality estimate, based on recent patterns.

The analysis predicted more than 500 fatalities for the year’s tornadoes with a high likelihood of a tornado killing more than 100.  Keep in mind, the deadliest tornado over the years used in the statistical analysis (1990-2010) killed 36 people.  The tornadoes of 2011 were unlike anything we had witnessed for decades.

There was no upward trend in violent tornadoes prior to 2011; the year was a clear statistical outlier or Black Swan type event.  Consequently, we concluded that fatalities should return to the prior normal or decline further due to continued warning process improvements.  By contrast, proponents of climate change told us that Joplin and Tuscaloosa were the new normal due to global warming.

The U.S. has averaged 43 tornado deaths over the past nine years, with 76 in the deadliest year (2020).  We have had only 11 deaths so far in 2021 (although please knock on some wood when reading this).

Mother Nature can be extreme, variable, and fickle.  Events and years unlike recent experience are inevitable.  When unexpected (or inconceivable) weather events occur, we should try to figure out what happened and why, instead of lazily attributing it to man-made global warming.


Daniel Sutter (dsutter@troy.edu) is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics and the Director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision.

Addendum by Anthony

A picture is worth a thousand words, a graph says even more.

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Timo, not that one
May 28, 2021 6:09 am

Uh oh! I see some pretty frightening “Extreme Global Milding” going on here.

Bryan A
Reply to  Timo, not that one
May 28, 2021 2:24 pm

Anthony,
Love the accompanying photo.
Is it a single shot of multiple twisters or a montage of a single one growing from EF0 to EF1

Duker
Reply to  Bryan A
May 28, 2021 7:33 pm

Cant quite make out the Himalaysa in the background

Sunsettommy
Editor
May 28, 2021 6:11 am

Researchers Kevin Trenbeth and Michael Mann also stated that global warming is making tornadoes worse in Grist, saying ‘It’d be irresponsible not to mention climate change’.

These two have been wrong too many times now, why are anyone still taking these two climate clowns seriously?

Warmist/alarmists continue to bow down to these climate charlatans and their chronic failures, they were besotted with an obviously outlier season that they made bald assertions that has failed to develop after 9 years, doesn’t this make them Pseudoscientist’s?

Last edited 18 days ago by Sunsettommy
Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Sunsettommy
May 28, 2021 6:22 am

” why are(sic) anyone still taking these two climate clowns seriously?”

Because their gibberish fits the narrative. It doesn’t matter how often or how badly they’re wrong. What matters is the are on the MSM’s side. Hell, they still take Bill Nye seriously!

Sunsettommy
Editor
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 6:35 am

That is indication of ignorance and then stupidity since it has been 9 years now an obvious outlier year.

Last edited 18 days ago by Sunsettommy
Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Sunsettommy
May 28, 2021 8:04 am

“That is indication of ignorance and then stupidity.”
No argument from me on that point. In the immortal words of Joe Biden, they “value truth over facts.” They are immune to facts or statistics because they know what is “true”. Like the viral Wuhan Lab leak hypothesis was a “conspiracy theory” until it wasn’t.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Sunsettommy
May 28, 2021 10:56 am

It morphs into dishonesty as their continued silence on the matter and lack of a retraction shows they are not interested in promoting science, but rather themselves.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Sunsettommy
May 29, 2021 7:31 am

These two have been wrong too many times now, why are anyone still taking these two climate clowns seriously?

Trenbeth and Mann have a long way to go to equal the “wrong too many times to count” record established by Paul R. Ehrlich. And people not only still take him seriously, they keep giving him awards. I predict the same will be true for Trenbeth and Mann, with the possible exception of Mann.

As far as I know Ehrlich has never sued anyone who criticized him whereas Mann keeps his attorneys on speed dial. This exposes Mann to an environment where he actually has to produce evidence; so far he has a perfect record of losing. Eventually this fact will be noticed by the so-far doting press.

Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 6:15 am

The Klimate Krowd© will cling to any bad incident in the weather to justify their position no matter what the statistics say. And they count on the public’s short memory span to forget their past predictive failures. That they were so wrong 10 years ago has already gone down the ‘memory hole’. I recall a recent article that claimed James Hansen’s 1988 predictions ‘mostly true’.
We are starting hurricane season next week. Already one marginal hybrid system has been named. Gird your loins.

MarkW
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 6:47 am

The public also easily forgets that we have had bad weather before.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
May 28, 2021 7:09 pm

M M the incident needn’t be bad either. Even moderately warm and dry is a Katastrophic Klimate Kalamity

Peter W
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 9:15 am

I can hardly wait to see if this will be another “worst hurricane season yet” event.

ih_fan
Reply to  JON P PETERSON
May 28, 2021 11:51 am

Or the 1974 “Super Outbreak”?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Super_Outbreak

BCBill
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 10:08 am

I am repeatedly amazed by the average person’s lack of weather memory. As a little experiment, pick some notable weather phenomenon from a year or two ago, confirm that your memory is not playing tricks on you and then gently probe your friends and acquaintances to see how well they recall. I have Ben doing this for years and it is my perception that the majority of people can’t recall major weather characteristics even one year later. This in part explains why they are so susceptible to climate exaggeration. Most urbanites haven’t any feeling at all for medium term weather trends.

rah
Reply to  BCBill
May 28, 2021 12:47 pm

Not me! I will never forget Palm Sunday 1965. I watched three tornadoes hit Kokomo, IN that day. Then a few days later rode in the car with mom was she drove around surveying the damage at places like Rushville and Alto.

Never forget seeing a tractor sitting in a field with a piece of lumber driven right through the engine block or seemingly solid brick and stone buildings pushed off their foundations.

I will also never forget getting caught above the tree line on the Zugspitze during to worst winter storm to hit Bavaria in over a decade. It was a very long night. Or my son being able to jump out the third story window of his bedroom at our family quarters and slide down the mountain of snow that had been put there by the front loaders when they cleared the parking lot of our military quarters at Bad Tolz,

MDL
Reply to  rah
May 28, 2021 6:07 pm

rah Palm Sunday 1965, just shy of nine years old, family gathering in Bremen and I insisted we leave and go home to Elkhart. Family drove past the double-funnel picture location on the route home. Only a short time later the tornado series struck, turned just slightly about a mile from our house and took out Dunlap. Then in PNW watched a big specimen tree for hours knowing it was about to fall and it did, as did the Hood Canal Bridge too.

rah
Reply to  MDL
May 29, 2021 12:04 am

You and I are about the same age. I lived in Anderson but was visiting cousins in Kokomo that fateful day. No basement to run to so we just watched them go by. We were in sight of that water tower with the red and white checkers on it and watched one skip over it.

I remember us driving up US 31 which those tornadoes had crossed. The most powerful one had followed north right up that highway for a ways before turning back to the NE. The official story is there were two F-3s that hit Kokomo. They’re wrong. There were three! I saw them.

Back then, before the bypass was put in, US went right through part of the town and I kept seeing all of the debris that had been driven into the ground in the culverts bordering the road where that tornado had gone along it. That is when I began to question the advise given by the authorities because it seemed to me the last place one would want to be was in one of those culverts.

Somewhere I still have the special newspaper addition put out by the Kokomo paper after the event. I remember this photo.comment image The caption read. “The sign says Alto, but the town is not there”.

There were 47 tornadoes identified hitting in the midwest over a period of 11 hours during that outbreak. Third largest outbreak in Indiana.

Last edited 18 days ago by rah
Duane
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
May 28, 2021 12:10 pm

2004 and 2005 were the two worst years in Florida and the Gulf Coast for landfalling major hurricanes since 1935. At that time all the global warmists were declaring that to be “the new normal” due to you guessed it, climate change. Then we had not a single landfalling major hurricane in Florida again until 2018 – a 13 year hiatus.

Funny, I don’t recall all the yakkity yak from the warmists that that hiatus proved that global warming was over. They simply claimed it was “weather”, not “climate”.

By the way the worst (deadliest and most destructive) landfalling hurricanes to hit Florida since decent record keeping began in the late 19th century were all between 1919 and 1935, killing upwards of 400 to 800 plus persons. The deadliest hurricane in world history since records began was in Galveston TX in 1900, which killed around 6,000.

Kinda hard to blame all those killer storms on SUVs and coal fired electric utiilties.

M Courtney
May 28, 2021 6:15 am

It’s scary how many graphs can be headed “Weather, Not Climate”.

May 28, 2021 6:34 am

“Deaths” and “property damage” are not necessarily correlated with “tornado strength.” It would seem that should be the headline and main message here.

You mention in passing controlling for “numbers of persons and mobile homes” but don’t focus on that in the discussion. Tornado deaths are a function of people being in the path of tornadoes. More people in more places in more buildings in tornado alley is absolutely certain to result in a higher number of deaths, as well as higher dollar property damage, if/when a tornado strikes.

You can only be a victim of a shipwreck if you’re on a ship. The more people on the ship, the more deaths will occur when it wrecks. The more treasure in the ship, the more costly the damages from the wreck.

Jeremiah
Reply to  Kent Clizbe
May 28, 2021 6:46 am

Yet, we are seeing a decrease in average deaths per year. Education and technology have a hand in that.

Reply to  Jeremiah
May 28, 2021 9:02 am

Exactly! That should be the headline here–“Tornado Alley: Population Growth, Development, lead to higher death and damage tolls. Nothing to do with CO2!”

DMacKenzie,
Reply to  Jeremiah
May 28, 2021 9:58 am

Give Doppler radar some credit.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DMacKenzie,
May 28, 2021 1:20 pm

Give the Storm Chasers some credit, too. I watched the storm front come through Oklahoma yesterday in real time with the Storm Chasers showing the various storm centers with their video. As long as it’s taking place in daylight, the Storm Chasers can tell you right where the problems are. When it turns dark, it gets a little more difficult, and then we have to rely on the radar a little more.

rah
Reply to  Jeremiah
May 28, 2021 12:53 pm

And that same technology, like Doppler radar, has expanded to coverage over the whole lower 48 while people have also spread out and live in places that were not inhabited before as the population has grown. And thus more tornadoes are detected, and the probability of people being impacted them has increased! And yet, our counts of both tornadoes and deaths has been decreasing.

Duane
Reply to  Kent Clizbe
May 28, 2021 12:23 pm

But tornado strength/frequency data are really the most relevant data when considering the effects of climate and climate change on extreme weather events. Ditto with hurricane strength/frequency data, rainfall depth/duration/frequency curves, etc. etc.

Because as you say, the effect on people and infrastructure varies radically depending on where and when an extreme weather event occurs, and even on how long it lasts.

The extreme rainfall events in the Houston area a couple years ago were not due to the underlying tropical storm being especially strong in terms of wind speeds or reduction in pressure within the eye … it was the fact that that particular storm travelled so god-awfully slowly from the Gulf to the onshore areas and literally lingered for several days that produced such extreme rainfall. And of course the news and weather reporters only focused on the most extreme rainfall amounts recorded, which as is typical with rainfall, only occurred over extremely small areas.

When engineers are trained on how to design infrastructure like dams, levies, drainage systems and such, they learn that the most extreme rainfall events occur over very tiny areas. The bigger and broader the watershed, the more it tends to reduce the peak rainfall volume that falls. To generate really extreme rainfall events, statistically speaking, such as deadly flash floods, is when a heavily laden storm cell sits right above a small watershed.

Justin Burch
May 28, 2021 6:50 am

The year of the lowest tornados in the USA with nothing EF4 or EF5 coincided with the EF4 Alonsa Manitoba tornado. If the tornado had moved even 500metres south of where it hit the lakeshore, it would have killed dozens of campers who were crowding into the south part of the campground. There was no warning due to a cell phone “upgrade”. People saw the tornado as it approached the campground crossing the one road out. Fortunately, there was only one fatality. It could have been one of the worst tornado fatalities disaster in Canadian history. The pattern of where EF4/EF5 tornados typically hit just moved north a bit from its usual southern plains location and the tornado itself just missed a lot of people. Capricious and variable is an understatement.

TheLastDemocrat
Reply to  Justin Burch
May 28, 2021 9:01 am

May people learn “statistics” in college, and maybe high school. But the statistics we learn are not really focused on rare events.

Not even when we learn combinations and permutations. If you are playing poker, it is very unlikely that you will be dealt four Aces. You will, however, get dealt your five cards. And, you will get something to play, with a smoothly decreasing likelihod of different “hands.”

Getting hit by a powerful tornado is a mix of: a powerful tornado occurring, and you being in the path of this tornado. Tornado footprint is relatively small. The percent of the square acreage of Joplin Mo or Tuscaloosa AL torn up is very small.

Few of us, generally, are taught to think analytically about very rare events.

H.R.
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
May 28, 2021 4:50 pm

Sometimes, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Olen
May 28, 2021 7:48 am

The new norm is the old norm and100 years from now it will still be.But I won’t know it then.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Olen
May 28, 2021 8:37 am

I’ll be here then; with Biden’s guidance, we will avoid Climate Collapse and all live forever!

Bill
May 28, 2021 8:36 am

Every time it rains, snows, or the sun shines, it’s the fault of we nasty humans. We are evil simply for existing according to greenies. So why don’t they stay true to their word and off themselves?

Peter W
Reply to  Bill
May 28, 2021 9:17 am

Excellent suggestion! I’ll vote for that!!!

H.R.
Reply to  Bill
May 28, 2021 4:52 pm

You have it all wrong about the Greenies, Bill.

It’s all those other nasty evil humans who have to go. They are pure and righteous.

Lil-Mike
May 28, 2021 9:01 am

If you adjust the data for the “Strong to Violent Tornados” plot to compensate for development / population density, it falls much faster.

A tornado ripping through farmland in the 1950s is one level of risk, and a tornado ripping through a suburban neighborhood on the same land today is a much higher level of risk.

Duker
Reply to  Lil-Mike
May 28, 2021 7:38 pm

Even the Joplin tornado was a claimed EF5 at the time by the Weather service. Close examination by engineers of the destruction found that all the damage was EF3-EF4.

Last edited 18 days ago by Duker
Roger
May 28, 2021 9:22 am

From the article:

Historical ratios of fatalities per injury, per millions of dollars of property damage, or per building damaged provide more detail and context. 

This is the point where climate alarmists circle and then slip into a rabbit hole. How do we translate the above historical ratios into the present, accurately compensating for advances in trauma care, and building materials and techniques? The answer: We model them. And with all models, the programmer can make it spit out any result that he/she wants. Is that the cha-ching of grant dollars I hear?

And the beat goes on.

Last edited 18 days ago by Roger
saveenergy
May 28, 2021 9:41 am

Well, you may have some fancy graphs & stats showing years of empirical data of a reduction of storms & deaths from storms …

but I feel they are getting worse & millions are dying & it’s all unprecedented & the cats are all strophic & I think it’s worse than I think & I know it’s true cos I’m woke & I identify as a bi-sex kangaroo (I fancy a jump ) . Now I’m going to take my meds & meditate …
but I’ll be back
Karen Kook

Eric Brownson
May 28, 2021 9:45 am

Is the downturn in the number of tornadoes and F3+ tornadoes because of “climate change?”

ih_fan
Reply to  Eric Brownson
May 28, 2021 11:56 am

As the Climate Collapses ™ tornadoes will be forced closer to the ground, thus limiting their size and wind velocity.

My question is, as the Climate Collapses ™, should we wear helmets to protect ourselves from falling climates?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Eric Brownson
May 28, 2021 1:29 pm

It would seem to me that the downturn is because of cooler weather.

When a cold front runs into a warm front, the temperature of the warm front can make a big difference in how strong the storms get in the interaction.

Frederick Michael
Reply to  Eric Brownson
May 28, 2021 2:18 pm

Yes, because of the second law of thermodynamics. The increased greenhouse effect increases the lowest temperatures the most. Tornadoes, which are powered by temperature differences (as per the second law) are now powered by slightly decreased differences.

There are lots of other factors, but the downward trend is still detectable over a long period of time. This downward trend is most noticeable with the strongest tornadoes. Limit the plot to just EF4 & 5 and the trend is even stronger than shown above (which was for EF3, 4 & 5). See the graph in this article.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2018/12/26/will-be-first-year-with-no-violent-tornadoes-united-states/

This trend will continue.

Alan
May 28, 2021 9:45 am

Living next door to Tornado Alley, I find any news about tornadoes interesting. I remember an article a few days after the Joplin tornado that attributed the high death toll to complacency. There had been several tornado watches and warnings in the days leading up to the big storm. Nothing happened. Then came yet another warning and too many people paid no heed.
Growing up in this area, it wasn’t unusual, from March to April, to spend several days in a row, under watches and warnings.

dk_
May 28, 2021 10:02 am

lazily attributing it to man-made global warming.

Calling it lazy is still being over generous. It is a sponsored narrative with advantages to those seeking aggrandizement and wealth.

ih_fan
Reply to  dk_
May 28, 2021 12:00 pm

Overheard at the meeting to figure out how the tornado happened:

“Okay – we need to tell the reporters how this happened”

“Warm air rising, cold air falling? Naw, too technical.”

“Warm, moist air from the Gulf Coast meeting cold, dry air from Canada? Nope. They don’t know where the Gulf Coast is.”

“Oh! I got it! Climate Change!”

Joel O'Bryan
May 28, 2021 10:21 am

Some experts had a ready answer for the devastation: man-made climate change.

Not experts, simply carnival barkers hawking a defective product.

H.R.
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 28, 2021 5:04 pm

Yeah, and won’t people feel really taken when they find out the Bearded Lady! that they paid 25¢ to see had only three long hairs on her chin… just like grandma.

The picture painted on the sideshow tent is nothing like the reality. And then we have our current crop of public school brainwashed ‘rubes’ who will never admit they got taken by ‘Climate Change.’

markl
May 28, 2021 10:46 am

Show me one “new normal” that turned out to be true when given proper time.

Reply to  markl
May 28, 2021 12:17 pm

They always end us with “regression to the mean”.

Joel O'Bryan
May 28, 2021 10:54 am

Put Trenberth into the Fauci category of Ignorant “Expert,” both are IYI’s as defined by Nassim Taleb.
Mickey Mann on the other hand deserves his own level of Hell for shamelessly lying incessantly as he does about Climate change.

Duane
May 28, 2021 11:54 am

It’s the same old, same old game of “heads I win, tails you lose” with the global warmists.

When we have an active year for violent or extreme weather of any kind (hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, drought, rainfall, snowfall, heat, even cold, whatever) it’s “climate change”. Ditto for individual weather events.

Whenever we have a mild or unremarkable or less violent or less extreme weather year or event, it’s “the weather”.

And that also holds for specific geographic regions or locations as well as temporal. Whenever any particular region experiences a weather extreme, somewhere else on the planet or even next door at that very same time will be experiencing a non-extreme, or even opposite extreme event. But no matter, the focus by the warmists and their dolts in the major media will always chatter about climate change in the place or time experiencing the extreme, while totally ignoring the place or time that is not.

The warmists will continue playing that game forever.

It’s like Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet singing “it’s five somewhere”.

The global warmists forever sing “it’s climate change somewhere”.

Duane
Reply to  Duane
May 28, 2021 11:59 am

A good example this year is the yakkity yak about the drought in the Colorado River basin and Colorado, which must be due to “climate change” … while conveniently ignoring the more or less equal area of the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest this year that have been experiencing normal to well above normal precipitation (mostly snowfall).

Or ditto with those very red maps showing high heat indices east of the great plains, and all the yakkity yak about that being due to “climate change” .. while again ignoring that in the other 2/3 of the US they’re experiencing average to below average temperatures.

May 28, 2021 12:03 pm

the deadliest year since 1925″
Also known as “not the deadliest year”

May 28, 2021 12:09 pm

These “experts” have no understanding of the “Regression to the Mean”. Anytime there is an anomalous peak in anything, expecting it to continue climbing is really just fiction. 99.8% of the time, the peak will just regress back to the mean.

Really, this applies to almost everything in our lives. Profiteers use the anecdotal fallacy based on a regression to the mean to convince you that their product is amazing. Works all the time.

We should start doing that with weather. Near the end of the 2011 tornado season, we should have marketed our weather dance, then of course, the following years had less tornados, ‘proving’ our weather dance worked. Ergo, CO2 has nothing to do with tornados. We could do this with EVERY SINGLE thing they point to claiming it is a ‘new norm’. 2005 hurricane season would have been a good one, last years California and Australia fires…

Tom Abbott
May 28, 2021 1:12 pm

From the article: “There was no upward trend in violent tornadoes prior to 2011; the year was a clear statistical outlier or Black Swan type event.”

The year 2011 was one of the hottest summers I have ever experienced in Oklahoma, and that heat was all over the Central, South and Southeast States, too. The extreme heat was an outlier, and we have had relatively moderate summers since that time.

The extreme heat is the reason for the strong tornadoes in 2011. There was more of a temperature gradient between the hot and cold air masses which makes for stronger storms.

This year in Oklahoma, the tornado count is below normal so far.

Last edited 18 days ago by Tom Abbott
Alec Rawls
May 28, 2021 1:40 pm

I recall Joe Bastardi, after some outlier tornado outbreak was being blamed on global warming by the usual suspects, explain that tornados result from the temperature difference between cold northern air and warm tropical air when the two collide, and that global warming, which disproportionately warms polar air, reduces this temperature differential, so the secular trend from global warming should be towards fewer/milder tornados. QED

Robert of Texas
May 28, 2021 1:42 pm

CCM – Catastrophic Climate Moderation – we are all doomed.

I have grown up with tornadoes (no, this isn’t a reference to my old girlfriends!) and survived two – both rather small and mild. One hit my Jeep Cherokee and bounced me around. I knew something really odd had happened because the rain went from horizontal on one side of the Jeep and suddenly horizontal on the other side. I only knew that it was a tornado the next day when I saw the damage around where my Jeep had been pushed – twisted small trees and rips through a fence on both sides of the road.

My mother survived the great one that hit OKC in May 1999 – the house was nothing but shards of wood and splinters but the inner closet she hid in (had pipes in the walls) still stood. I still shake my head at all the damage I saw.

I all my years I have never seen anything to lead me to believe they are getting worse or more frequent. They seem to come in spikes in some years. People want something to blame and especially something they feel they can pacify – so Global Warming. It’s just like feeling a need to go to church – it makes them feel in more control.

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