Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Waves Hit the Northwest

The Pacific Northwest was swamped by two waves this week. One the nation is familiar with, the Blue Wave of the Democrats as they take over the Congress. We hope this means greater attention to global warming and energy policy, among all the other priorities they will have.

The second wave you may have missed, unless you live here. In my book I tell the story of spending a day with insurance company executives two years ago, during a torrential downpour, and trying to get them to comment on how normal these kinds of heavy rain storms were becoming. They were not interested, then.

A key expectation of global warming scientists is that the weather will get more wild. We see that here in the Northwest. This week alone we saw:

Rainfall records across Western Washington. Some measurements from the National Weather Service:
-- 8.22 inches at Stampede Pass, breaking an all-time rain record of 7.29 inches set on November 19th, 1962.
-- 3.29 inches at Sea-Tac Airport, breaking the record of .99 set in 1980
-- 4.31 inches at Olympia Airport, breaking the record of 1.74, also set in 1980

And, in Oregon similar records were set.

People shrug this off of course. It is the Northwest. It rains. What else is new?

But now when I see entire valleys flooded, rather than being amazed at a once-in-a-lifetime event, I wonder whether this will become normal.

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