Defining Extreme Weather
Extreme weather includes unusual, severe or unseasonable conditions. From heatwaves to blizzards, such phenomena can disrupt ecosystems, economies, and daily life. Climate change escalates their frequency and intensity.
Heatwaves and Health
Heatwaves are prolonged periods of excessive heat. They can lead to dehydration, heatstroke, and worsen chronic conditions. Surprisingly, they claim more lives annually in the U.S. than tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined.
Superstorms, like hurricanes and typhoons, are powered by warm ocean waters. They can unleash winds exceeding 250 km/h and cause catastrophic damage. The 2005 Hurricane Katrina was one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Tornado Alley Mystery
The 'Tornado Alley' in the U.S. is a tornado hotspot. However, its existence is debated among scientists, with some claiming that increased observation rather than an actual increase in tornadoes might explain the phenomenon.
Flash Floods Impact
Flash floods can occur within minutes of heavy rainfall, melting snow, or dam breaks. Not widely known, but urban areas are especially vulnerable due to impermeable surfaces that increase runoff and reduce natural absorption.
Droughts are not just about less rain; they involve complex interactions between land, water, and atmosphere. Surprisingly, they can persist for years, devastating food supplies and leading to water scarcity conflicts.
Mitigating extreme weather involves improving infrastructure, forecasting, and community preparedness. Green roofs and better drainage systems can reduce urban flood risks. Each community must adapt to its specific climate threats.