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Southern United States winter storm

  • 20-02-2021 2:19pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,240 ✭✭✭ Jimbob1977


    Remarkable cold spell for the United States, especially the Deep South.

    Temperatures were about -15c in Houston, which is fairly close to the Gulf of Mexico.

    As the houses aren't constructed for cold weather, the inevitable burst pipes have made drinking water a public health issue.

    Energy prices have increased from about $0.10 per kilowatt to c. $7.00 per kilowatt.

    One lady's electricity bill for her house was $6,000 for a few days.

    Is this a "once in a generation" event.... or likely to become more commonplace?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,307 ✭✭✭✭ nacho libre


    Jimbob1977 wrote: »
    Remarkable cold spell for the United States, especially the Deep South.

    Temperatures were about -15c in Houston, which is fairly close to the Gulf of Mexico.

    As the houses aren't constructed for cold weather, the inevitable burst pipes have made drinking water a public health issue.

    Energy prices have increased from about $0.10 per kilowatt to c. $7.00 per kilowatt.

    One lady's electricity bill for her house was $6,000 for a few days.

    Is this a "once in a generation" event.... or likely to become more commonplace?

    It depends who you ask, some will say with a warming Arctic it will become more common , others that it's just weather variability- once in a generation type thing, as you put it


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,554 ✭✭✭✭ Graces7


    Jimbob1977 wrote: »
    Remarkable cold spell for the United States, especially the Deep South.

    Temperatures were about -15c in Houston, which is fairly close to the Gulf of Mexico.

    As the houses aren't constructed for cold weather, the inevitable burst pipes have made drinking water a public health issue.

    Energy prices have increased from about $0.10 per kilowatt to c. $7.00 per kilowatt.

    One lady's electricity bill for her house was $6,000 for a few days.

    Is this a "once in a generation" event.... or likely to become more commonplace?



    And the death rate from the cold is growing; we have friends out there. Folk are literally being found dead of cold. Others are better prepared with working fireplaces and fuel in.

    Whatever the thinking we all need to be fully prepared for extremes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,666 ✭✭✭✭ JCX BXC


    A 7000% increase on energy prices on struggling people?

    Oh America, you never fail to impress me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    My aunt's house just north of Houston flooded during the week when a pipe burst. An inconvenience, but at least she didn't freeze to death. There was another case where a grandmother and her three grandchildren burned to death while the mother of the children watched helplessly from outside. It was due to them lighting a fire to keep warm.

    Look at this sounding from Fort Worth, with a surface temperature of -17.

    544366.png


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    The atmosphere scientist Jennifer Francis has been talking about how polar amplification is reducing the temperature difference between Arctic and temperate regions and this is causing changes to the jet stream which is now meandering much more, when the jet stream meanders, it pulls colder arctic air south with it which results in these kinds of extreme events. The same phenomenon caused the blocking systems that led to Houston getting flooded after Hurricanes Harvey in 2017, and another blocking system caused Superstorm Sandy to travel up the east Coast of the USA instead of traveling east across the Atlantic as most gulf hurricanes tend to do

    A paper recently published warns that the slow down of the polar vortex and diminishing temperature gradient between the poles and tropics will also lead to worse and longer lasting summer heatwaves in the US. We have seen that the Texas energy infrastructure is vulnerable to cascading failures, If there is a similar power grid disruption in an extreme heatwave, many people will die from heatstroke

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/same-mechanism-behind-southern-cold-spell-could-drive-prolonged-heat-waves


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭ Oneiric 3


    2014:

    "In Much of U.S., Extreme Cold is Becoming More Rare"

    https://www.climatecentral.org/news/extreme-cold-events-in-a-climate-context-16931


    Extreme cold is becoming more rare because of climate change, but when extreme cold occurs, it's down to climate change.

    If ever there was a perfect example of the term 'gaslighting', then this is it.

    New Moon



  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Oneiric 3 wrote: »
    2014:

    "In Much of U.S., Extreme Cold is Becoming More Rare"

    https://www.climatecentral.org/news/extreme-cold-events-in-a-climate-context-16931


    Extreme cold is becoming more rare because of climate change, but when extreme cold occurs, it's down to climate change.

    If ever there was a perfect example of the term 'gaslighting', then this is it.

    What do you think of the actual mechanisms involved in the Texan winter storm? How did that polar air reach so far south? Do you think Francis’ explanation has any scientific merit?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭ Oneiric 3


    Akrasia wrote: »
    What do you think of the actual mechanisms involved in the Texan winter storm? How did that polar air reach so far south? Do you think Francis’ explanation has any scientific merit?

    Care to address the contradictory messaging from 'climate scientists' as I showed in my post (and that is just one of many, many examples) rather than asking totally unrelated questions?

    New Moon



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,421 ✭✭✭ Danno


    Akrasia wrote: »
    What do you think of the actual mechanisms involved in the Texan winter storm? How did that polar air reach so far south? Do you think Francis’ explanation has any scientific merit?

    How did Houston TX record 20 inches of snow in the year 1895? Pretty sure there was no climate change then?


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,572 ✭✭✭✭ Rikand


    Akrasia wrote: »
    What do you think of the actual mechanisms involved in the Texan winter storm? How did that polar air reach so far south?

    Because mother nature just does whatever the **** she wants to do!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    Akrasia wrote: »
    The atmosphere scientist Jennifer Francis has been talking about how polar amplification is reducing the temperature difference between Arctic and temperate regions and this is causing changes to the jet stream which is now meandering much more, when the jet stream meanders, it pulls colder arctic air south with it which results in these kinds of extreme events. The same phenomenon caused the blocking systems that led to Houston getting flooded after Hurricanes Harvey in 2017, and another blocking system caused Superstorm Sandy to travel up the east Coast of the USA instead of traveling east across the Atlantic as most gulf hurricanes tend to do

    A paper recently published warns that the slow down of the polar vortex and diminishing temperature gradient between the poles and tropics will also lead to worse and longer lasting summer heatwaves in the US. We have seen that the Texas energy infrastructure is vulnerable to cascading failures, If there is a similar power grid disruption in an extreme heatwave, many people will die from heatstroke

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/same-mechanism-behind-southern-cold-spell-could-drive-prolonged-heat-waves

    Can't have a thread about a weather event now without the usual people immediately claiming it can be attributed to the ole agw. It's like that "meteorologist" on a tv clip posted on some thread here the other day who blamed the "almost ice-free Arctic ocean" for this Texas outbreak. We're reaching the annual peak in Arctic ice, so he's 100% wrong with his "ice-free", but that will go unchallenged and the population will swallow it without question.


  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Its not unusual for Dallas and northern Texas to have snow
    Its just a freak event to get it so severe so far douth,easier to happen actually than snow in the Sahara albeit at altitude,low enough altitude at times

    https://www.space.com/39411-satellite-images-capture-rare-snowfall-sahara.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Oneiric 3 wrote: »
    Care to address the contradictory messaging from 'climate scientists' as I showed in my post (and that is just one of many, many examples) rather than asking totally unrelated questions?

    How exactly is the cause of the winter storm ‘totally unrelated’ to the topic


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Rikand wrote: »
    Because mother nature just does whatever the **** she wants to do!

    I don’t believe in Mother Nature. I believe in science


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,364 ✭✭✭ highdef


    Akrasia wrote: »
    I don’t believe in Mother Nature. I believe in science

    Because science just does whatever the **** it does!


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Can't have a thread about a weather event now without the usual people immediately claiming it can be attributed to the ole agw. It's like that "meteorologist" on a tv clip posted on some thread here the other day who blamed the "almost ice-free Arctic ocean" for this Texas outbreak. We're reaching the annual peak in Arctic ice, so he's 100% wrong with his "ice-free", but that will go unchallenged and the population will swallow it without question.

    When you say immediately, you really mean a week after it started?
    Then you go on to put some random weatherman’s words into my mouth?

    I’m not talking about climate change for the lols, I’m linking this event to climate change because there is a plausible mechanism that links them. What do you think about the mechanism I referred to? The Jennifer Francis theory that the polar vortex and jet stream weaken when the difference between arctic temps and tropical temps are reduced


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    AuntySnow wrote: »
    Its not unusual for Dallas and northern Texas to have snow
    Its just a freak event to get it so severe so far douth,easier to happen actually than snow in the Sahara albeit at altitude,low enough altitude at times

    https://www.space.com/39411-satellite-images-capture-rare-snowfall-sahara.html

    It is unusual to have Texas so cold that their electricity and water infrastructure collapses because these infrastructure were not designed for such low temperatures because they were thought to be so unlikely to occur that it would be a waste of resources to protect against them


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Danno wrote: »
    How did Houston TX record 20 inches of snow in the year 1895? Pretty sure there was no climate change then?

    I don’t know, there were the right atmospheric conditions that were caused by something else. Events always have at least one cause.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,938 ✭✭✭ PokeHerKing


    Akrasia wrote: »
    The atmosphere scientist Jennifer Francis has been talking about how polar amplification is reducing the temperature difference between Arctic and temperate regions and this is causing changes to the jet stream which is now meandering much more, when the jet stream meanders, it pulls colder arctic air south with it which results in these kinds of extreme events. The same phenomenon caused the blocking systems that led to Houston getting flooded after Hurricanes Harvey in 2017, and another blocking system caused Superstorm Sandy to travel up the east Coast of the USA instead of traveling east across the Atlantic as most gulf hurricanes tend to do

    A paper recently published warns that the slow down of the polar vortex and diminishing temperature gradient between the poles and tropics will also lead to worse and longer lasting summer heatwaves in the US. We have seen that the Texas energy infrastructure is vulnerable to cascading failures, If there is a similar power grid disruption in an extreme heatwave, many people will die from heatstroke

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/same-mechanism-behind-southern-cold-spell-could-drive-prolonged-heat-waves

    I preferred when your side of the argument stuck to the company line for freak cold events of "thats weather, not climate". We look like we're moving towards an even more fanatical version where "every freak weather event is AGW".

    This extreme one eyed view only serves to create an opposing extreme view and you just push more moderate people to care less about the whole thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    I preferred when your side of the argument stuck to the company line for freak cold events of "thats weather, not climate". We look like we're moving towards an even more fanatical version where "every freak weather event is AGW".

    This extreme one eyed view only serves to create an opposing extreme view and you just push more moderate people to care less about the whole thing.

    Not one person here has even mentioned the science
    This is a weather forum that agonises over dew points and wet bulb temps when there is the prospect of a snowflake hitting Cabra, but when Houston gets blasted with freak ice storms, that’s just ‘weather’. Mother Nature can not be explained


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    Akrasia wrote: »
    When you say immediately, you really mean a week after it started?
    Then you go on to put some random weatherman’s words into my mouth?

    I’m not talking about climate change for the lols, I’m linking this event to climate change because there is a plausible mechanism that links them. What do you think about the mechanism I referred to? The Jennifer Francis theory that the polar vortex and jet stream weaken when the difference between arctic temps and tropical temps are reduced

    So how come the polar vortex was so strong up to the new year, and during other previous winters? We had a SSW at the start of the year. This is well known to disrupt the jet. If a warm Arctic is to blame then we really shouldn't be seeing the polar jet forming at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭ Oneiric 3


    Danno wrote: »
    How did Houston TX record 20 inches of snow in the year 1895? Pretty sure there was no climate change then?

    The Arctic was very, very cold in 1895:

    TLKhVTD.png

    Cold Arctic air helped push frigid North Pole air down over the southern States.

    New Moon



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    Akrasia wrote: »
    I don’t know, there were the right atmospheric conditions that were caused by something else. Events always have at least one cause.

    Those right atmospheric conditions could happen a century ago but no way nowadays, right? What was that something else?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    Akrasia wrote: »
    It is unusual to have Texas so cold that their electricity and water infrastructure collapses because these infrastructure were not designed for such low temperatures because they were thought to be so unlikely to occur that it would be a waste of resources to protect against them

    They are unlikely to occur, but they do still occur. Always have.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    Akrasia wrote: »
    Not one person here has even mentioned the science
    This is a weather forum that agonises over dew points and wet bulb temps when there is the prospect of a snowflake hitting Cabra, but when Houston gets blasted with freak ice storms, that’s just ‘weather’. Mother Nature can not be explained

    I think I've pretty much covered it in my past 3 posts now.


  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Akrasia wrote: »
    It is unusual to have Texas so cold that their electricity and water infrastructure collapses because these infrastructure were not designed for such low temperatures because they were thought to be so unlikely to occur that it would be a waste of resources to protect against them

    As its only ever happened once,then I think it falls deeply into the category of unlikely
    Also the Texas grid is not connected to the fedral grid
    Ergo no backup supplies
    The latter is probably the biggest take home there


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,938 ✭✭✭ PokeHerKing


    Akrasia wrote: »
    Not one person here has even mentioned the science
    This is a weather forum that agonises over dew points and wet bulb temps when there is the prospect of a snowflake hitting Cabra, but when Houston gets blasted with freak ice storms, that’s just ‘weather’. Mother Nature can not be explained

    I think this forum is full of amateur weather enthusiast's who understand that calling the weather 5 days from now is not an exact science. So when posters claim one freak event is proof of AGW/climate catastrophe and the "science" backs it up they're naturally sceptical.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    So how come the polar vortex was so strong up to the new year, and during other previous winters? We had a SSW at the start of the year. This is well known to disrupt the jet. If a warm Arctic is to blame then we really shouldn't be seeing the polar jet forming at all.
    The polar vortex is a bit like a flywheel, if it spins quickly, it is more stable and less likely to shift or wobble. The vortex is constantly getting slammed by other weather systems, a weaker polar vortex is more easily disrupted when hit by another weather system

    The vortex was already disrupted in December after getting hit by a powerful storm and hasn’t been able to recover and probably won’t recover at all this year, (at least until it reforms in Autumn
    It actually reversed direction for a time in December/January

    The polar vortex tends to keep the cold Arctic air masses locked over the Arctic but when it breaks down, this cold air spills out, and then the meandering jet can drag it south as we have seen happening over the last week or so in Texas

    https://climatechange.ucdavis.edu/climate-change-definitions/what-is-the-polar-vortex/

    How is this affected by climate change? Because the polar regions are warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thus reducing the temperature gradient that partially drives the strength of the jet stream and polar vortex


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Oneiric 3 wrote: »
    The Arctic was very, very cold in 1895:

    TLKhVTD.png

    Cold Arctic air helped push frigid North Pole air down over the southern States.
    It was cold, how cool we’re the tropics that year? It’s not the absolute temperature that drives the vortex, it’s the temperature gradient. The polar vortex may have been weak in 1895, or maybe there was a very powerful storm that disrupted the vortex and had a similar effect from a different cause. I do not have the any way of knowing.
    Also, Krakatoa had erupted a decade before the winter snow in 1895, this drove down global temperatures and would have had a wierding effect on global climate and weather as equilibrium had temporarily shifted

    There are lots of reasons why the vortex gets disrupted, my point is that a weaker vortex is disrupted more easily and this makes these kind of events more likely to happen,


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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,204 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia


    Those right atmospheric conditions could happen a century ago but no way nowadays, right? What was that something else?

    Polar amplification weakens the jet stream and polar vortex making these events that bit more likely. Doesn’t mean they were impossible or never happened before AGW, but the dice is getting loaded


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