Deadly, sure. Destructive, yep. Punishing, in some ways. Scary, big time. Climate change, the early onset stuff unfolding before our eyes, is all of those things but it's almost never boring. At times it can be more like a horror movie provided, of course, that you're watching it from a safe distance. If you're in the script it's usually not so much fun. Oh, and did I mention that this is just the early onset stuff. Just getting started, so to speak.
We had a helluva summer this year on the Wet Coast. Massive forest fires from Mexico all the way up into Alaska. Smoke everywhere, even out to sea. Then there were floods here, droughts there and who can forget those impressive hurricanes in the Gulf and Eastern Seaboard. Plus those apres season wildfires that swept California.
Now it's Climate Change, Eastern-style, the dreaded Polar Vortex and hasn't it been a real Duesenberg (SJ LaGrande Dual Cowl Phaeton depicted here) this year? But wait, there's more. This week is bringing a "bomb cyclone" to the eastern part of North America from Florida all the way on up.
First, a monster storm will hammer coastal locations from Georgia to Maine with ice and snow. By Thursday, the exploding storm will, in many ways, resemble a winter hurricane, battering easternmost New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow.
Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening. The storm could rank as the most intense over the waters east of New England in decades at this time of year. While blizzard conditions could paste some coastal areas, the most extreme conditions will remain well out over the ocean.
It looks like most of Nova Scotia is in for a real pummeling.
“Some computer models are projecting a minimum central air pressure of below 950 millibars at its peak, which would be nearly unheard of for this part of the world outside of a hurricane,” wrote Mashable’s Andrew Freedman. “For comparison, Hurricane Sandy had a minimum central pressure of about 946 millibars when it made its left hook into New Jersey in 2012.”
Winds will crank in response to this pressure drop, howling to at least 30 to 50 mph along the coast. Winds will be considerably stronger over the ocean — exceeding hurricane force — where enormous waves will form.
And then, behind the storm comes the cold. That means -42F in the Sault, -40F for Toronto, -30F in Montreal. As I recall it, "40 below" Fahrenheit equals minus 40 Celsius. That's cold, damned cold. That's horrible cold, deadly cold for the homeless and people who can't afford heat or just about anyone if the storms take down the power grid.
At least the authorities know it's coming. They know the storm is on its way. They know the deadly cold snap that will appear in its wake. They know the risk of power outages at this worst possible moment. They know the people who are vulnerable, their lives in peril. They know the resources they must mobilize to respond to this. Let's hope they know that leaving it until the storm hits is leaving it much too late.