With the remains of Hurricane Odile rushing north from the Gulf of California, alarmists such as Bill McKibben are likely to suffer their usual anxiety attacks, and to describe the event as “unprecedented.” The flooding may be worsened because it was preceded by moisture brought north by “Norbert,” and likely will be followed by moisture swept north by “Polo”, (even if Polo veers out to sea.)  McKibben may then state that the number of storms coming up the west coast of Mexico is “unprecedented”, as well.

I’m not sure why McKibben can’t remember 1976. He was alive back then. Four tropical storms came up the west coast that year. I’d poke fun at his forgetfulness, but I suppose there is an off-hand chance he has suffered some sort of brain damage, and it resulted in amnesia. Because it would be unspeakably rude to poke fun at such a person, I will instead pat the back of his hand and say, “Now, niw. There, there. Calm down, Bill. Calm down.”

Because I was alive in 1976,  I recall the desert floods, the heat and drought further north in California, and the bitter cold that followed in the east.  I am always watching to see signs of a repeat of that nasty winter, when sea-ice formed in harbors as far south as Virginia.

I only have the memory of a lifetime to fall back on, but over at Weatherbell the meteorologists Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi have supplemented their own life’s experience by studying maps from times long before they were born.  Therefore they have developed an ability to see things coming, which at times is downright uncanny. I think they first began to mention the possibility of floods in Arizona last April, (even as they stated the “super El Nino” that people were going wild about back then wasn’t going to happen.)

Perhaps they are merely lucky, like a gambler in Las Vegas on a “hot streak,” but I find it impressive when they post illustrations like this one of Kathleen back in 1976, and then Odile takes a similar route only a few weeks later.

Kathleen 1976 640px_Kathleen_1976_rainfall(1)

It is clear that Bastardi and D’Aleo have done their homework. Shouldn’t McKibben do his?  Amnesia is not a good excuse for undone homework, and I know. Back in school the one thing I studied hardest was excuses-for-undone-homework, and I know for a fact teachers frown at “amnesia” as an excuse. (Not that it can’t work, but you have to wear a bloody bandage around your head to make it successful, and even then it only works on the more tenderhearted teachers.)

Before McKibben calls any desert floods “unpresidented,” he should research, as Joseph D’Aleo did. I think this chart of tropical-storm floods in Arizona first appeared on his blog (this year) in  August:

Arizona wettest t.s. Screen_shot_2014_09_15_at_6_45_58_AM

Besides alarming floods in the desert, McKibben is fretful about drought further north, in the High Sierra.  Shouldn’t he do a bit of research, as D’Aleo did, before calling the current drought “unprecedented”?  A bit of research showed that, though the current drought is severe, it doesn’t rank in the top five.  (If McKibben is too lazy busy to do the research, he ought to subscribe to the Weatherbell site, and allow the research to be done for him.)

High Sieera drought Screen_shot_2014_09_15_at_6_39_52_AM

I notice that the year “1976” again appears, as number five in the five driest years (at this point) in the High Sierra.  This makes me a bit nervous, as during the winter of 1976-1977 that followed temperatures dropped to minus thirty, in my neighborhood in New Hampshire.

This situation actually gives McKibben an splendid opportunity to put his skill at fretting to good use.  He claims to be concerned about our grandchildren. I have four.

Largely due to the fretting of people like McKibben, coal-fired power plants are due to be closed down this January, when temperatures are at their lowest. With no  back-up power available,  this closure could overwhelm the grid, and result in power being shut off when people are in danger of freezing without power. In other words, shutting down the power plants could endanger grandchildren, and not endanger them 100 years from now, but this coming January.

Surely McKibben will be the first to see the reason to fret, and demand the logical thing be done. And what is the logical thing? To simply delay the closures until April.

As I await seeing McKibben demonstrate his deep levels of caring and concern, outside the last crickets of summer are somberly chirping.

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