This is not the time to be traveling Mississippi’s roads. A wrathful, Old Testament tornado is tearing through the state and if you’re wondering if we should blame this on climate change the answer is, yeah, probably.
At least one person has already been killed by the severe storms across the state. The National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency warning yesterday, meaning widespread property damage is expected and it’s highly likely they’ll be fatalities. The storm has 75 mph winds and is moving quickly.
In Mississippi, late December isn’t exactly tornado season, but weather pattens have flipped this year in part due to El Niño, the climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean that impacts global weather patterns. Before you say that’s an isolated event, note this 2014 study published in Nature Climate Change found that an increase in greenhouse gases could double the frequency of super El Niño events and increase their severity.
Here’s how The Associated Press summed up the impact on the southern states:
“Elsewhere, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes were forecast for Wednesday in northern Alabama, northern Mississippi, Arkansas and western Tennessee. Tornadoes are not unheard-of in the region in late December, but the extreme weather, driven by warm temperatures and large amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, was nonetheless striking, said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground.”
Watch out for each other out there. It’s all crashing down.