Living With Climate Change: Climate change and the polar vortex: Winter storms are normal, but this string of severe Christmas weather isn’t typical

by | Dec 23, 2022 | Stock Market

The calendar flipped to winter this week and promptly ushered in what the National Weather Service is calling a “once-in-a-generation type event” that will hobble holiday travel by air and road on some of the busiest days of the year. While it may seem contradictory, climate change may be contributing to more extreme winter weather. Snow, wind and bitter wind chills for the states that are used to them are not news. But the fact that these events persist even while Earth is warming is a baffling phenomenon that some scientists are linking mostly to increased precipitation in a warmer atmosphere.

Read: Six survival tips for traveling by car during a blizzard As the week draws to its end, a storm dumped more than a foot of snow and possible blizzard conditions to parts of the Midwest, and the weather service warns of “life-threatening” wind chills for millions.

The National Weather Service reported that temperatures across the central High Plains plummeted 50 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few hours. “This is not like a snow day when you were a kid,” President Joe Biden warned Thursday in the Oval Office after a briefing from federal officials. “This is serious stuff.” More than 90 million people are under winter weather alerts and more than 87 million are under wind chill alerts. The alerts include 37 states, dipping as far south as the Texas-Mexico border. In 2021, record-breaking snowstorms knocked out power for nearly 4.5 million homes in Texas as icy conditions and heating demands overwhelmed much of the region’s power supply, which is fed by a combination of natural gas
NG00,
+1.68%
and wind power
WNDY,
-0.23%.
More than 100 people died, and the storms caused an estimated $295 billion in damage. Memories of the deadly outage leaves the state and other parts of the U.S. on high alert for power shortages. Right now, the number of people under winter alerts and wind chill alerts has grown to over 100 million people, or roughly a third of the U.S. population, according to the National Weather …

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