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WaPo: 'Manmade Climate Warming' Maybe Responsible for Heat, Storm

11:38 AM, Jul 1, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Washington Post considers the heat wave and derecho thunderstorm that hit the Washington, D.C. area on Friday and wonders what role "manmade climate warming" might have played.

"As the intensity of the heat wave, without reservation, was a key factor in the destructiveness of this derecho event - it raises the question about the possible role of manmade climate warming (from elevated greenhouse concentrations)," the Post writes (emphasis added). "It’s a complicated, controversial question, but one that scientists will surely grapple with in case studies of this rare, extraordinary event."

The Post does not provide evidence for its assertion, but the paper does detail the weather conditions:

Between 9:30 and 11 p.m. Friday night, one of the most destructive complexes of thunderstorms in memory swept through the entire D.C. area. Packing wind gusts of 60-80 mph, the storm produced extensive damage, downing hundreds of trees, and leaving more than 1 million area-residents without power.

...On Friday, a historic, record-setting heat wave covered a sprawling region from the Midwest to the Southeast. ... Here in Washington, D.C., the mercury climbed to an astonishing 104 degrees (breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 2011 by two degrees),our hottest June day in 142 years of records. ...

This derecho event is likely to go down as not only one of the worst on record in Washington, D.C. but also along its entire path stretching back to northern Indiana.

The Associated Press has more details on the destruction:

Millions across the mid-Atlantic region sweltered Saturday in the aftermath of violent storms that pummeled the eastern U.S. with high winds and downed trees, killing at least 13 people and leaving 3 million without power during a heat wave.

Power officials said the outages wouldn't be repaired for several days to a week, likening the damage to a serious hurricane. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia, where Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state had its largest non-hurricane outage in history, as more storms threatened. "This is a very dangerous situation," the governor said.

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