Big heat wave for CA; a profusion of international natural disasters in May

An impressive heat wave is on the way fro CA. We will apparently be making the transition between spring and summer in about a 48 hour period starting today. Warm, brezzy, and hazy conditions will exist across NorCal today, and SoCal will see typically warm afternoon temps as well. Tomorrow will be much warmer statewide as 850 mb temps begin to skyrocket and compressional heating takes place. Widespread highs 80-90 degrees can be expected outside of immediate coastal areas. Wednesday will see another dramatic jump in temperatures, with widespread highs 85-95 in interior CA with 70s and even 80s along the immediate coast. Thursday will be warmer still–trending quite hot in more inland areas with some record or near-record high temperatures likely. Highs will surpass 100 degrees in the Sacramento Valley, reaching up around 105 in the hotter locales. San Francsico may even hit 90 on Thursday or Friday–pretty unusual for this time of year (or, really, for any time of year). SoCal deserts may get up to around 115 for the first time this year, and locations away from the immediate coastal plain could reach above 95 (up to 105). Friday will be equally hot (if not a few degrees hotter far inland). The ridge that was originally progged to break down quickly looks much more persistent, so widespread highs at least in the 90s will persist into early next week.  Summer, it appears, is here.

The situation in Myanmar following Severe Tropical Cyclone Nargis continues to worsten, as the government there continues to refuse to allow aid workers into the country. Certain relief organizations have stated that if the situation there does not change dramatically in the very near future, disease and starvation following the already devastating storm could claim the lives of more than 1 million people within 1 month of the cyclone. The true death toll from this storm will never be known; there are apparently tens of thousands of human bodies lining all the waterways in southern Myanmar with many more washed out to sea (and showing up on the coastlines of surrounding nations). This is no longer a truly “natural” disaster, though–the storm itself likely killed over 100,000 over the course of a few hours, but the actions of the junta in Myanmar has already claimed at least that many.

Another sobering disaster is just beginning to unfold in central China, where a 7.9 magnitude earthquake has apparently devastated several inland cities. The reported death toll is already approaching 10,000.

 The eruption of Chaiten Volcano in Chile, although spectacular and dramatic in scale and potential to devastate, has thus far killed no one as a result of efficient evacuation of residents by the Chilean navy and good decisions made on the part of the geologic institute in that country. The situation is still very unstable, though, and the volcano is now in its 8th day of continuous moderate to violent eruption. More on that situation as it develops.

A major tornado outbreak  has killed nearly 30 people in the U.S. Midwest this weekend, and this year is on track to have the greatest number of tornados and the greatest number of tornado deaths in history. 

The media coverage of these events (in the United States, at least) has been extremely disappointing, especially given the scope of some of these events. The situation in Myanmar is particularly dire, and public pressure for some sort of intervention could really make an enormous difference in this case, so the lack of news stories about the situation there is distressing and saddening. Fox News (perhaps unsuprisingly?) has insinuated that there is a connection between the events–a claim so sensational and absurd that it very much suprisies me that it made it past editors and fact-checkers and even passed the basic “common sense” test on the part of the news anchors. In any case, I will try to update on all of these events as more information becomes available.


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