What's behind the floods in Texas and heat in India?

Jun 1, 2015 8:19 PM by News Staff

Scientists on Monday made an ominous prediction: We'll be seeing more extreme weather like the flooding that killed at least 30 people last month in the southern plains, while damaging or destroying thousands of homes. And on the other side of the world, the extraordinary heat wave that killed more than 2,000 in India.

They trace the cause of it all to the very top of the world.

May took Texas from drought to destructive floods, while on the other side of the globe, excessive heat turned deadly in India.

In a paper published today, researchers from Rutgers University offered an explanation for why climate change in the arctic is slowing the jet stream over the northern hemisphere, leaving the weather increasingly prone to repeat.

"Everything slows, and with it weather patterns persist over areas for longer periods of times that could make a wet situation dangerously wet, it could make a heatwave dangerously long," said climatologist Dave Robinson.

Typically, the jet stream would move storms from west to east across the U.S. In May, it funneled storm after storm to Texas and Oklahoma, resulting in the Northeast being unseasonably dry, California stuck in drought, and Alaska having its first 90-plus degree day earlier than ever.

The National Weather Service's Chris Vaccaro says the phenomenon can happen any time.

"We can even see this in the winter months in the Northeast where you'll have, like in the Boston area, where we had repeated snowstorms over a short period of time."

When asked why May was such an unusual weather month, Vaccaro responded: "Nature hit pause."

Forecasters say Sunday's heavy rains in the parts of the Northeast and the storms in the mid-Atlantic today are signs the weather is off repeat, giving Texas a much-needed chance to dry out. Still, no sign of relief for California's historic drought.

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