Sunny weekend to follow heavy storms as climate change makes itself obvious

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms will drench the North and Central Jersey beginning around 4 p.m. Wednesday until midnight, with lows around 63 off from the partly sunny day with highs near 80.

“Locally damaging winds possible which may result in some downed trees and wires; hail is also possible,” said the National Weather Service.

“On Thursday, the biggest threat area for severe weather and heavy rain will shift to the Mid-Atlantic states. The Storm Prediction Center does currently have a Slight Risk of severe weather depicted here with concerns for thunderstorms producing damaging wind gusts. An isolated concern for some flash flooding will be possible too from these storms producing heavy rainfall,” said the National Weather Service.

Thursday promises an elevated risk of scattered severe thunderstorms, especially in the southern part of the state from about 3 to 10 p.m. Highs should hover near 86 degrees.

“Damaging winds and large hail; heavy rainfall may also result in localized flash flooding, mainly for the I-95 urban corridor,” the National Weather Service said.

Such wild weather fluctuations are part of the consequences of climate change, which has resulted from the infusion of massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the thin layer of gas surrounding the Earth, which is known as our atmosphere.

“One of the most visible consequences of a warming world is an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events,” said The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “The National Climate Assessment finds that the number of heat waves, heavy downpours, and major hurricanes has increased in the United States, and the strength of these events has increased, too.”

The economic impact of extreme weather is illustrated by the increasing number of billion-dollar disasters, some of which are known to be influenced by climate change (floods, tropical storms, hurricanes) and others —like tornadoes— for which the climate influence is uncertain.

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, last week predicted above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.

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