Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Otherwise, hot and dusty."

That was how meteorologist Dow Sherry used to sign off his weather forecasts in San Antonio during the 1970s. The same phrase would well describe what has happened in the western portion of the US over the last few years. We are getting hotter and drier than ever before.

The graphic I nicked from io9 (h/t Madman in the Marketplace).

If you look at the interactive graphic that graces the NRDC's web page, you'll notice that my little corner of plains is about right on par with what's going on in New Mexico. As I noted last November, none of this really caught me by surprise. Just looking at the most recent seasonal summary, I noticed that my region had its fifth driest fall season on record this last year, and was a bit warmer than average (a good couple degrees). That might not seem like much, but we definitely notice the difference in terms of later first freezes, and so on. We've also had to contend with periodic burn bans in the area, and the NWS has issued quite a few alerts regarding wildfire dangers due to dry conditions, unusually warm temperatures, and our usual high winds. We're right on the eastern edge of the western US, and appear to be feeling some of the same effects that our neighbors to the west are experiencing.

If one traveled to the Amarillo area, one would notice that Amarillo's main source of water, Lake Meredith, is at its lowest levels in recent memory. Suffice it to say, the topic of water conservation is pretty darned salient these days. To think the warm-up has only begun.

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