Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scary Dust Storm Video

I found this video of a dust storm that hit my hometown, Lubbock, TX last Monday, October 17. As I have said before on this blog, I grew up in Lubbock, and while dust storms are fairly common in that dry area of North America, I have never seen anything like this.

The buildings that you see in the video are on the campus of Texas Tech University, and I'm guessing that the video was shot from one of the high-rise dormitories.

Here is a news article from MSNBC about the dust storm, and the climate changes that have affected that part of the country and contribute to monster storms like this one. The sentence from the article that floored me is this one:
Lubbock has had just 3.16 inches of rain since Jan. 1.
For perspective, the average annual rainfall in Lubbock is 18.7 inches. The previous driest year has been 1917 with 8.73 inches. Of course, this year is not over yet, but I would say there is a good chance that the city will smash that record. And this year has not just been dry, but this summer was also the hottest on record, both for Lubbock and for the whole state of Texas.

It amazes me that there are still people, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, who still want to deny the reality that there are long-term climate changes taking place. Governor Perry's well-publicized response to the drought has been to ask everyone to pray for rain. Of course, I know that there is nothing the governor or anyone else can do in the short term to change the weather, and there is nothing wrong with prayer. But some long-term policies to try to reduce the use of fossil fuels and encourage cleaner energy technology might help too. Otherwise, we're going to be seeing a lot more storms like this one.

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