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Aftermath: Climate Change?

WAMC photocomposite by Dave Lucas

Powerful storms rolled through upstate New York Wednesday night, flooding streets, downing trees and closing roads.  

Wednesday evening saw mobilephones abuzz with storm alerts, watches and warnings as Albany-area TV meteorologists hunkered down to anchor extended coverage of dangerous inclement weather that ran up close to 9 p.m. The storms originated in Central New York and wreaked havoc as they traveled eastward.

There were unconfirmed reports of a twister touching down in Schenectady County. The National Weather Service Thursday said a tornado moved from Montgomery County to Schenectady County at 6:45 with an EF-2 rating.  That accompanied tornado warnings in Delaware County as well as Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  The National Weather Service in Binghamton issued a warning that a tornado or potential tornado was near Middletown. And it rained everywhere.

National Grid, Central Hudson and NYSEG utility crews have been restoring power to customers affected by the deluge.

The northeast has already seen days of high temperatures and humidity and more are forecast for the next few days. One oracle predicted New Yorkers should expect to experience weather events related to global warming: Governor Andrew Cuomo, who spoke about the "new normal" after Superstorm Sandy, may be on the right track, according to Jessica Reynolds: she is a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. Reynolds points out that in the case of tornados in particular, a lot of what we are seeing now is the result of more awareness and better technology.

The storms have passed: next comes the heat and humidity. Although temperatures in the 90s are forecast for the end of the week, no municipalities have immediate plans to set up cooling stations, as meteorologists anticipate a cooling trend to begin as early as Sunday.  Central Hudson's John Maserjian says "sustained" high temperatures are what challenge people and electric companies.

Conservation group Scenic Hudson has come up with an interactive map purporting to help people get an idea of the role climate change will play affecting 150 miles of Hudson River from New York City to Troy - here's the link.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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