A deadly string of tornadoes landed in six states on Friday and over the weekend
Is climate change to blame for unprecedented weather disasters?
The Weather Channel (owned by theGrio’s parent company, Allen Media Group) meteorologist Alex Wallace examines that question in the video report above. A deadly string of tornadoes landed in six states on Friday and over the weekend. Tornado outbreaks are a rarity in December, but that could change as the planet continues to warm.
As theGrio reported, countless homes and businesses were destroyed after deadly tornadoes rocked Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee over the weekend. Dozens have reportedly been killed, and six people died at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois after part of the building collapsed following a tornado Friday.
“This is likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history,” President Joe Biden said on Saturday.
Firefighters help search for a woman’s five cats that went missing after her home was destroyed during a tornado on Dec. 15, 2021 in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Scott Olson/Getty Images)
“We have pretty good evidence that climate change is now in the DNA of extreme heat waves, rainfall events, drought, and perhaps even aspects of hurricanes. Tornadic storms is just one that we can not conclusively say there’s that’s the case,” said Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, in the clip above.
“We’ve also seen tornado activity somewhat decline in what traditionally has been the Great Plains active region and shifted more into the mid-South, where we saw this recent tornado event. And there’s some suggestion that could be tied to aspects of an atmosphere shifting in response to climate change.”
Most global scientists believe that severe weather events are the result of humans who have contributed to global warming through various means.
“When you start putting a lot of these events together, and you start looking at them in the aggregate sense, the statistics are pretty clear that not only has there sort of been a change — a shift, if you will — of where the greatest tornado frequency is happening,” Victor Gensini, top tornado expert and Northern Illinois University professor, told CNN. “But these events are becoming perhaps stronger, more frequent and also more variable.”
He added, “It’s also very common when you have la niña in place to see this eastward shift in highest tornado frequency.”
“But if you look at the past 40 years, the research I’ve done … has shown that places like Nashville, Tennessee, for example — or Mayfield, Kentucky, that we saw got hit — their frequency of tornadoes, their risk of having a tornado, has increased over the last 40 years.”
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