2011: the year of the “Freak” storm

Fires, droughts, floods, dust storms, tornadoes, now….the “freak” storm.  Google “2011 Freak Storm” and you get an amazing set of results from nearly every continent.  It’s telling that so many people are referring to these storms as “freaks.”  Means to me that average people are understanding it –  they know what typical bad weather is like – but these things are completely out of the ordinary. Its as if the weather has changed, or something.

Think about the recent spate of stage collapses:  coincidence?  It seems unlikely that stage fabricators in at least 3 different spots around the world botched.  Rather, it seems that the storms they had anticipated are no longer the norm.  Now we’ve got “freaks.”  Ottawa, Indianapolis, and now Belgium are proof.  Just yesterday the Pope and 1 million people in Madrid were hit by a “freak” storm.

Oh well, at least climate change isn’t causing this.  Cause if it was, then we’d ultimately be the ones to blame for the death and destruction, and that’s downright unAmerican.  Or as our giant of a US Senator, Rand Paul, says “These petty dictators say that to stop climate change it’s about ending capitalism….”  Indeed, freak storms are good for capitalism, right Rand?  What with all that rebuilding, and medical care, and new opportunities suddenly opened for those not actually hurt by the storms.  So bring ’em on!

Here’s some more recent examples:

Coventry, UK – The crazy summer weather really took a twist yesterday – when a mini tornado appeared in the skies over Coventry and Warwickshire.

The 100ft twister-like cloud was seen racing through the area just after 2pm.

Crowds watched in wonder as the vortex hovered over Leamington Spa, breaking away from dense storm clouds.

 It was also spotted by stunned workers at Coventry Airport and Middlemarch Business Park.

Web designer Carl Spencer, 25, snapped the twister on his iPhone from his Leamington office.

He said: “It was amazing, I have never seen anything like it in Leamington Spa.

North-west Bulgaria – Over 23000 people have been left without electricity due to recent storms in North West Bulgaria yesterday according to energy distributor CEZ. Many residents of the storm stricken regions of Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo and Vratsa describe the storm as a significant tornado like experience.

The high winds have brought down several trees which in turn have fallen on electricity pylons, destroying high voltage cables. CEZ have been working intensely throughout the night to ensure the safety of residents and drivers after finding roads had been affected by fallen trees. It is hoped that power will be restored to the majority of homes between now and the following 48 hours.

via Freak Weather Leaves Many Without Electric In Bulgaria

Southern Australia – Extreme weather has been battering Australia this week.

Winds have become so strong that waterfalls have been blown upwards.

The strong winds, which are seriously affecting the waterways of southern Australia, have gone up to 75mph.

Earlier this week, Sydney saw a month’s worth of rain falling in just one day, according to the BBC.

Although the ferries which hundreds of commuters rely on have kept running, they have provided rocky rides for those brave enough to keep travelling on them.

Waves have reached 5m off the area’s coast.

via Freak weather forces waterfall to flow UPWARDS in extreme 75mph winds | Mail Online.

Ohio, USA – Strong storms ripped through northern Ohio Saturday, leaving power outages, downed trees and significant flooding in the FOX 8 viewing area.

Late Saturday evening, the FirstEnergy outage map indicated that between 500-2,000 customers were without power in each of the following counties: Cuyahoga, Columbiana, Geauga, Portage and Trumbull Counties. A message on the electric company’s website said high heat and storms were responsible for the widespread outages. Crews were expected to complete the restoration process by midnight.

Damaging winds uprooted trees in many places across northern Ohio. Residents on Elyria’s Grafton Road reported multiple trees down in the area, and in Cleveland, a large tree blocked the road on East 59th Saturday afternoon.

via Storms Leave Heavy Flooding, Outages & Damage – WJW.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Several people from the Lakeland Village Mobile Home Park have had an extremely wet start to their weekend.

A massive lake from Friday’s deluge of rain covered Lakeland Village Drive. It stretched from a nearby pond all the way to a strip mall and gas station near the entrance to the trailer park.

And some vehicles struggled to get through the water Saturday morning as crews were busy pumping gushing water out of the area into a nearby ditch.

The water was waist deep in some places at the trailer park’s main entrance.

“I took my little Dodge Neon through this and it died,” said Karen Kathan, a bartender who works at the Willy’s Place pub and restaurant located in the strip mall.

Kathan says she was on her way to work in her Neon when it became stuck in the massive pool of water.

“Everything inside the car was fried,” said Kathan. “I had to bring out my canoe from home to get to work.”

via Sherwood Park Mobile Park Flooded | Edmonton Sun

Chicago, IL, USA – As a heat wave continued to sear much of the East with 100-plus temperatures Saturday, Chicago was pounded with record-breaking rainfall.

At O’Hare International Airport, rainfall totals had reached 6.91 inches Saturday morning — the largest single-day rainfall since records began in 1871, according to ChicagoWeatherCenter.com. The highest previous daily total was 6.64 inches on Sept. 12, 2008.

Commuters soldiered on their way, trying to deal with the effects of overnight storms. Two truckers had to be rescued by boat after abandoning their nearly submerged trucks on a South Side expressway.

via Chicago storm: Record rainfall drenches the city – latimes.com.

Durham, NC, USA – A summer thunderstorm has knocked out power for thousands of people in Durham during a severe heat wave.

Duke Energy says on its website that more than 5,000 Durham customers were without electricity Saturday afternoon.

A Duke representative told WRAL-TV that power lines fell outside a substation, sparking a grass fire that was put out by firefighters. The company expected power to be restored later Saturday.

The outage came as area temperatures rose over 100 degrees for the fourth straight day.

via Storms knock out power for thousands in NC – FOX Carolina – WHNS 21 – Greenville News and Weather.

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