In Washington Court House Wednesday morning, Jammie and Todd Ervin and their two children woke up with five feet of flood water at their back door on Linden Avenue.
The field behind the neighborhood is known to have standing water after a hard rain. Overnight Tuesday into the day Wednesday, residents in southern Ohio received over three inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Todd said it will take days for the flood water to recede away from the back of their house. He said the weather temperatures have been a little warm this winter but nothing too unusual.
Todd was asked if he thought climate change could be impacting the weather and he responded that it could be.
In recent discussions about weather, a controversial issue has been whether climate change is created by human activity and if it has affected the climate enough to cause changes to seasonal temperatures and the severity of storms.
On one hand, some argue that climate change is caused by human activity. From this perspective, post-industrial human activity has increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to its highest in 400,000 years. As the carbon particles in the atmosphere increase to historic levels, we see the resultant warmer ocean temperatures melting polar ice, causing sea levels to rise.
Climatologists say the rising carbon dioxide levels are causing storms to worsen. They cite recent hurricanes as an example. Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, was the second most costliest hurricane on record with damages estimated at $50 billion.
On the other hand, others argue that climate change is a natural cycle of the earth’s activity across millenia. According to this view, climate change is happening but is not happening because of the activity of humans.
In sum, then, the issue is whether climate change is happening due to human activity or as a part of the earth’s natural cycle.
Bethany Ingram’s view is that it is conceivable that human activity is having an impact on the earth’s climate. She said the warm temperatures and thunderstorms that happened overnight from Feb. 28 to March 1 were not normal for the winter season in Ohio. Though she concedes that it is normal to have rain in the winter season, she still maintains that it should not be so warm that the flowers are blooming in February. For example, she pointed to bushes and flowers beside her home on East Paint Street that were in bloom.
“These are blooming in February and they should be blooming in April. My neighbor and I were just talking about that the other day, about how we’re probably going to go straight from winter into summer and skip spring altogether,” said Ingram.
Although some might object to that line of thinking, she replied that it has already happened, in as recent as 2016, when temperatures in the spring went from freezing overnight into the high 80s within a matter of days.
A check of the weather temperatures in May 2016 supports her memory. There was a 53-degree Fahrenheit high recorded for May 15. Nine days later, day-time high temperatures hit 80 degrees and stayed consistently in the upper 80s for the remainder of the month, about 10 degrees above average.
A tornado ripped through Highland County Wednesday morning, crossing near Leesburg and moving east through the Greenfield area.
Information in the article about climate change, weather, Hurricane Sandy, and rainfall accumulation was sourced from NASA, NOAA and Weather Underground.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton
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