The weather for the last part of 2010 and the first part of 2011 is nothing short of memorable. In both the northern and southern hemispheres, Mother Nature is making her presence known, and not in the way that creates good memories. Setting records from Australia to the US and on to Europe, 2010 - 2011 has everyoneís eyes turned to the skies, watching for whatever is coming down on us next.
In the southern hemisphere, where summer is the current season, the story seems to be rain. Australia, already wetter than it has been in over a decade, has many cities recording new records in single day rainfalls. The flash flooding that has resulted from these massive rainfalls has led to over a dozen drowning and billions of dollars worth of damage and loss to property and livestock. The affected regions of the nation will be in recovery for years. And to top it all off Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, a level-5 cyclone, plowed through the state of Queensland on Wednesday, January 2, leaving a path of destruction behind it.
The story isnít much different elsewhere south of the equator. Starting in December 2010, storms have left 56 Filipinos dead and almost 20 missing. Most of the victims are fishermen, lost in rough seas. China saw 0ver 50,000 evacuated from rain damaged homes. Brazil has also experienced amazingly horrible results from heavy rains. In its most deadly natural disaster, rains and mudslides crippled the nation. With hundreds dead and missing and electric, communication and transportation systems out, the nation reeled beneath the weight of the seasonís rainfall.
The story up north (of the equator) seems to be colder Ė much colder. Europe has reeled under the weight of snowfall this winter. With an early winter onset, new record November lows were recorded in several European countries, and the December lows dropped in Germany. Deaths and property damage continues to rise as winter blows on.
In the United States, snow blanketed everywhere from Texas to the East Coast. With schools and businesses closed not only in the south but also in cities that rarely shut down due to weather, even the heartiest winter-lover had to be wondering if the snow would ever stop falling. The East Coast has seen seven major winter storms in as many weeks, with more snow on the way.
1. But thereís good news among the crazy global seasons. Warmer weather is on the way. According to Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog famous for predicting the onset of spring, this winterís cold should end early. As Phil emerged from his hole on February 2 under the scrutiny of excited onlookers, he failed to see his shadow. This indicates that a new season is at hand. Thatís the good news.
The bad news? The little rodentís record for accurate weather prediction isnít so great. Heís only right 39% of the time, which gives him a better chance of being wrong. Maybe we should all plan on bundling up a little longer.