As Bill Maher points out so often these days, we have to call it "climate change" because otherwise the rightwingers confuse the issue because it still gets cold some places, averages being a difficult mathematical and "scientific" concept for them.
Nonetheless, the climate change brought about by global warming that was predicted by weather scientists has become a reality and is impacting all of us in one way or another very realistically. It's no longer a theory, obviously. The early winter we're having in the Northeast is a perfect example.
Yes, seasonal anomalies have occurred throughout history, including in my lifetime and yours, but not the extent they are occurring now and in recent years. As we all know, or can learn, by checking the stats, the warmest years on record have all occurred in the past decade, and rainfall records and extreme temperature variations etc. have occurred in the last few years as well.
So even though there are a few pre-winter Nor-Easters on the records over the past few hundred years, when you combine the one we just went through this weekend with other extreme record-breaking weather events of the past few years, welcome to the future brought to you by global warming.
I was up in the Berkshires at my oldest son's family's place where over a foot of heavy wet snow fell. We were actually snowed in, but luckily retained power. When the snow stopped Sunday morning and the cars were dug out and what looked like a foot and a half of snow was shoveled and brushed off them, my youngest son and I drove back to Jersey in a rare snowscape that was more like a movie dream sequence than a Christmas card.
The seasons in this part of the world were so finely tuned by nature [and evolution (oh no!)], that by the time the first really heavy snow of winter came, all the leafs were off the trees and the amount of snow that could accumulate on a tree branch was minimal, almost more of an outline than a burden.
But this weekend the snow was so thick and wet (the "snowflakes" looked more like small snowballs) as it accumulated on branches still full of leaves, it became too heavy for the branches to bear the weight and they either bent low to the ground (it was a trip to watch my daughter-in-law just tap a long branch of a ten foot tall bush bent down to the ground with the snow shovel and watch the snow fall off as the branch sprang back like a catapult and stood straight up in the air again as though brought back to life from near death) or broke entirely and were strewn across roads or smashed onto roofs of cars and houses often pulling electrical and telephone wires down with them.
The trip back was stunning and challenging. The countryside was so profoundly beautiful all covered in not just pristine whiteness but a whiteness that looked poured and melted in a unique way and amount. I pointed out to my son how rare a sight it was because nature normally doesn't cause this kind of snowfall until after the leaves are gone and the trees can withstand it.
It was stop and start as we sometimes inched our way around fallen branches and trees and in one case under one that had fallen in such a way as to create a tunnel only one relatively small car at a time could go through (buses and trucks and bigger vehicles were forced to turn back).
Even when we got further South into lower New York state and were on a big highway not a two-lane country road, there were still moments when branches or trees would fall or bend and block a lane so that at one point a car several vehicles ahead of us hit their brakes so hard it created what looked like the smoke from a big fire and the smell of burning rubber stayed with us for miles.
At one point on a back country road a snow-laden branch fell up ahead of us onto the road and, as often happens in adrenaline charged moments, seemed to occur in slow motion as I watched it hit the road and managed to find an extremely narrow path around it just in time. And then made it home to find our street blocked by fallen branches (the trees around here and up North are often so large that a "branch" is the size of a small, or not so small, tree) that took wires down with them.
Most of the trip there were no stoplights working or store lights on and the usual roadside joint we stop at for lunch (the famous "Red Rooster"—at least famous in that area of the central Hudson Valley) as well as all the others were closed because of no power.
We passed two gas stations in the several hour trip that had lines extending out from them reminiscent of the 1970s gas shortage, only more so. One line seemed to extend for more than a mile with folks out of their cars hanging out talking, the cars pulled onto the shoulder of the road and backed up as far as we could see. They were the only gas stations with their own generators I guess.
My youngest doesn't have school today. Even though the snow is mostly melted here, at least in the streets, so it would normally not be considered a "snow day" it still is, because there are so many trees and branches that have downed wires that it's unsafe for the kids to walk down many blocks in our town for fear of accidentally touching a live one.
If this were the only odd weather event of the past decade, or of my son's life, etc. it would not be unusual. But in his now fourteen years there have been many, and more and more as the years pass. This is a result of the climate change being caused by global warming and almost every scientist, and close to a total consensus of weather scientists, acknowledge this.
Yet the rightwingers, including the main one who comments on this blog, continue to idiotically taunt us "liberals" with the reality of unusually cold winter weather for early Fall, but have been and will be nowhere in the comments threads when the inevitable (these days anyway) hot spell hits between now and next summer and breaks all records in that direction, despite the fact that I will, as I always do, point that out to them when it occurs. Their silence will be, as always, deafening, because anything that doesn't support their ideological beliefs is ignored or denied despite reality.
[PS: Just got back from driving my son to a friend's and saw trees that had crashed onto houses, down power lines, including just half a block from his old school, and only one lane of traffic on many streets because of the piles of branches etc. and to further make my point above, this kind of scene has become relatively common in the past few years and since I moved here a dozen years ago.]