According to the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University – the go-to guys for hurricane predictions – this year “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean.” Plus spring flooding. Plus drought. Seems we’ve been there before.
Let’s read about what happened in 1995. This, from the July 1, 1996, issue of American Nurseryman:
1995 Sets Records in Global Weather Conditions
Nursery professionals experienced a rough start with Mother Nature this year, but so far, nothing can compare to the drastic climate in 1995. From heat waves and droughts to floods and tropical storms, 1995 was a year that broke several records, indicating that the global climate is drastically changing – and not for the better.
According to the latest findings in the annual Climate Assessment report from the National Weather Services (NWS) Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, MD, the global-mean land temperature for 1995, based on land-surface measurements, was the second highest since reliable records began in 1951.
The global land-temperature estimates for 1995 were also calculated by the British Meteorological Office, Berkshire, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, which used land and ocean-surface reports to place 1995 as the warmest year since such records began more than a century ago. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Alabama, however, used satellite microwave soundings in the lower atmosphere to rank 1995 as the eighth warmest year in 17 years.
These findings support an international concern about global warming and its potential impact on social and economic sectors. Scientists of the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environmental Program Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change stated in December 1995 that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate through emissions of greenhouse gases,” according to the report. The panel does indicate, however, that comprehensive information on the past and present global climate will help the data needed for future weather conditions.
More timely and accurate weather predictions could save lives and stop tragedies such as those that occurred in mid-July, when a heat wave sweltered the Midwest and East, causing almost 1,000 deaths.
It wasn’t just the heat that made the record books. The 1995 Atlantic hurricane season was the second most active since records began in 1871, according to the report. Eleven of 19 tropical storms became hurricanes; five reached or exceeded category 3, which sustains winds of 111 mph or higher.
The NWS report also found that weak cold conditions developed during the winter. This means the jet stream over North America deviated from its tropical position, resulting in colder-than-normal conditions over western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Plains, and warmer- and drier-than-normal conditions along the Gulf Coast and over portions of the Southeast.
Other indicators showed that precipitation extremes dominated parts of the US that year. In January and March, near-record precipitation and flooding occurred in California. From April through early June, areas of the central US received more than twice the normal precipitation, causing flooding along parts of the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers. In November and December, flash floods occurred in parts of the Pacific Northwest.
The late summer and early fall brought extreme dry conditions to regions in New England and the mid-Atlantic, which impacted crop production.