Major media outlets said they had no warning about Hurricane Michael’s intensity. While the storm’s strength was unexpected, the real culprit is the media’s disinterest in understanding and reporting on the intricacies and difficulties of weather forecasting.
The term “heat wave” and excessive heat warnings are generally reserved for unusually uncomfortable and hazardous conditions. The weather doesn’t really meet that criteria right now, but perhaps we should still issue advisories for when temperatures are simply abnormal.
The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most intense and unpredictable on record. The 2018 season officially begins on June 1, only a couple months after the release of a proposal to cut the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget by nearly 25 percent.
Above-average temperatures often occur when people don’t notice or care, such as at night or in the winter months. Add in the fact that the year ended with colder-than-average weather and it’s easy to overlook the warmth of 2017.
While Atlanta is experiencing a wetter-than-average year, northern Georgia is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions. This is just one example of how conditions in one part of the state may not be indicative of the larger local or regional climate. The new SustainAtlanta Weather+Climate page is dedicated to giving readers a better understanding of how the day-to-day weather fits into the overall regional climate picture.
The first half of 2017 was far and away the hottest such time period of any year in 123 years of record keeping in the Southeast. Don’t let a lack of heat waves or a senator with a snowball deflect from the overwhelming evidence of a global and regional warming trend.