Get free daily email updates

Syndicate this site - RSS

Recent Posts

Blogger Menu

Click here to blog

Bruce Bialosky

The New Fear Weather

Life-threatening’ storm to slam Southern California beginning Sunday, last for days

Monster storm bears down on California: The danger zones, the forecast, the warnings

Sunday’s ‘Pineapple Express’ expected to wallop Southern California

Forecasters say a second storm fueled by an atmospheric river will hit California next week, roughly doubling the amount of rain falling Thursday on Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

These are some of the headlines that we have been faced with recently regarding what is considered by most people in the world to be a normal part of life, but a strange phenomenon to people in Southern California – weather. We are so accustomed to “75 degrees and sunny” that when we actually must drive in rain, it is a psychological experience for many. It seems that the press these days have nothing better to do than scare people.

I have been noticing this development recently that has followed on the heels of the mass evacuations occurring in areas where there were hurricanes. I have written previously about the fear tactics elected officials now use surrounding weather events ever since a governor received a tremendous backlash because some people died in his state.

The journalism students now running our publications have latched onto a new term – “atmospheric river.” It is the new cool term for a storm. It was developed in 1994 by a couple of researchers at MIT. The term describes the phenomenon’s characteristic of narrow bands of concentrated water vapor transport, similar to how a river carries water across land. This phenomenon has been around forever, but they developed this term for what we formerly knew as a “rainstorm.” As the storm rolled in it became a severe atmospheric river or a mega atmospheric river. It is the ‘in’ term with which to scare readers.

Let me be clear, the loss of life from these events should never be taken lightly. But the hysteria has escalated to a level where it has begun to have people shrugging their shoulders.

Right on cue Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency so as to make it seem he cares and to elicit federal funding. He ignores the day-to-day state of emergency he and his party have created in his once glorious state.

The biggest issue has been the national (or should I say international) delirium over the rising deaths from heat (you know, Climate Change). I will state that an internationally known climate scientist and former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen, Bjorn Lomborg, has debunked this numerous times, showing how many more people die from cold weather than hot weather.

What really brought total clarity to me was reading Eric Larson’s Isaac’s Storm. If you have not read Mr. Larson’s books, they are all a delight, and he is an outstanding author. This one was about the 1900 hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas. It was arguably the deadliest hurricane in history.

Larson lays out two important points in the prelude to the actual event. He describes the development of the U.S. Weather Bureau in the 1880’s which became official in 1890. It is now known as the National Weather Service (NWS). When you are told that this is the hottest year in whatever long period time picked (by the journalism students) – 300 years, 1,000 years, or 100,000 years – the start day of the NWS provides some perspective about how long actual records have been being maintained. And how accurate do you think they were in 1882?

Larson then listed a litany of weather events that killed masses of people. There was a cyclone in 1864 that killed 40,000 in Calcutta. There was another one in Backergunge in 1876 that killed over 100,000. In 1780 there was a series of hurricanes in the Caribbean that killed 22,000. In 2023, there was a category 5 hurricane that crossed Florida and created a national frenzy. I looked and looked but could not find a single death directly caused by the hurricane.

At 11 P.M. on Saturday night, the Beautiful Wife and I were finishing an episode of the Sopranos (yes, we decided with the 25th anniversary to watch it for a third time and are loving it) when Darling Daughter calls. She had just received a text that she should evacuate her condo in Toluca Lake in anticipation of a mandatory evacuation at 8 A.M. She was asking our advice.

We gave her some pointers though neither of us have ever been evacuated for any reason, let alone a weather event. I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. and woke up at 7:00 a.m. We had not received a phone call from DD asking for help. I looked out our front window. The street was bone dry. At 10 a.m. it was still bone dry. Called DD, she was still snoozing.

There are serious weather events that endanger people and sometimes people die from them and that is unfortunate and sad. But it is life. And we should be grateful for how improved our lives are today versus 200, 300 or 500 years ago when a many more people died with a significantly smaller world population.

We have had a lot of rain and some people have suffered. As of now, nine people have died that has been attributed to this massive pineapple express, mega super atmospheric river. That is one out of every 4.33 million Californians. Sadly, many more Californians died from drug overdoses in the same period.

In California, last year we were told we could delay filing our tax returns because of a few days of rain. How soon will it be before the delay is invoked for 2024? Our leaders, who I personally believe are a bunch of wimps, are trying to turn us into a bunch of wimps. I for one am not joining the wimp train. Just going to do the normal, common-sense things to stay safe.