Tag Archives: weather

The Unruly, Unrestrained Jet Stream

“Record snowfall, killer tornadoes, devastating floods: There’s no doubt about it. Since Dec. 2010, the weather in the USA has been positively wild. But why?”

So starts an article published in Science@Nasa last June called What’s to Blame for the Wild Weather?

(Shall I add extreme drought and heat leading to horrific forest fires that have both scorched the southwest and are even now burning up Oklahoma?)

Some say it’s because of La Nina,  a band of cold water that sometimes stretches across the Pacific, and affects global weather patterns. We’ve had La Nina conditions before, however, and not all these weird weather problems.

NASA climatologist Bill Patzert doesn’t think it’s La Nina either.  “La Niña was strong in December,” he says. “But back in January it pulled a disappearing act and left us with nothing – La Nada – to constrain the jet stream. Like an unruly teenager, the jet stream took advantage of the newfound freedom–and the results were disastrous.”

“By mid-January 2011, La Niña weakened rapidly and by mid-February it was adios, La Niña, allowing the jet stream to meander wildly around the US. Consequently the weather pattern became dominated by strong outbreaks of frigid polar air, producing blizzards across the West, Upper Midwest, and northeast US.”

And that wasn’t all it produced as spring came and the unruly jet stream continued to be uncontrolled. Russell Schneider, Director of the NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center, explains:

“First, very strong winds out of the south carrying warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico met cold jet stream winds racing in from the west. Stacking these two air masses on top of each other created the degree of instability that fuels intense thunderstorms.”

According to NASA author Dauna Coulter, “Extreme contrasts in wind speeds and directions of the upper and lower atmosphere transformed ordinary thunderstorms into long-lived rotating supercells capable of producing violent tornadoes.”

And climatologist Patzert adds, “The jet stream — on steroids — acted as an atmospheric mix master, causing tornadoes to explode across Dixie and Tornado Alleys, and even into Massachusetts.”

I love his description of an unruly jet stream, free to roam about as it chooses — with devastating results. Because what a parallel to a people who have rejected God and gone their own way.

Especially when you combine the weather problems with the economic woes, the war issues, the rising crime, the emergence of mobs of young people running amok in various cities from Chicago to DC to Orlando…  I really do think God is trying to get our attention…

Read the article and look at the pictures HERE.

Tornado Destructive Beauty

Okay, I admit, I’m weird. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in the midwest because I’d be one of those tornado chasers. I just find them fascinating. I feel the same way about thunderstorms. I think what I like about them both, in addition to the beauty and hypnotic grace in the images, is the fact that they show God’s power. I can’t speak for personally watching a tornado, but I’ve watched scores of thunderstorms and even been out in them, lightning cracking around on every side (that was not by choice… the worst part is how hard the rain pelts you — so hard you can’t open your eyes).  They are such awesome demonstrations of the power of God. Because His power goes way beyond a wimpy thunderstorm or tornado. That’s the cool part… here’s this manifestation of weather that completely humbles us. We can do nothing about it, nothing to stop it, nothing to control it… just get out of the way and pray.

And controlling a tornado is less than fingerwork for the one who actually holds all the universe together, keeps the sun in order, the planets, the galaxies, etc. I love considering those aspects of God. Because when you do, how can you worry about anything in life? He’s got it ALL under His control, everything chosen and incorporated into a plan that is not only holy and sovereign but wise and loving…

Anyway, all that to introduce this cool video of a tornado I just found:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0jYi6TTR7A]

And if you want to see some really still pictures of storms (accompanying an article on some British storm chasers in our own Tornado Alley) click here.