Talking about the weather isn't small talk any more.
July 18, 2011
I took a cross-country road trip in late June that became a race to outrun the triple-digit heat waves that have literally buckled highways between the Midwest and the East Coast.
The record-breaking scorcher was an apt send-off. As I weaved my way across the United States, I found the consequences of extreme weather everywhere I looked.
After the heat, the first sign of something unusual came in Iowa. There, every creek I crossed seemed to overflow its banks. Water pooled in cornfields.
By the time I reached Nebraska, radio advisories warning about bridges closed due to swollen waterways seemed routine.
Late one night, I pulled under an overpass between Sydney and Potter, Nebraska to find refuge from hail big enough that it cracked my windshield. There, I met an off-duty police officer who said he's spending more and more time cleaning up after an increasing number of tornados and micro-bursts like the one we were trapped in.
Meanwhile, the drought-wracked southwest was blazing. New Mexico was experiencing the largest wildfire in state history, and an all-out battle was being waged by firefighters to steer the flames away from Los Alamos National Laboratory, where radioactive material for making nuclear weapons is housed. Now the concern is contaminated soil being washed into the Rio Grande by flash floods in deforested canyons. Fires in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Colorado are adding up to a record-setting wildfire season.
Continue reading at: http://www.otherwords.org/articles/connecting_extreme_weather_dots_across_the_map