If you live in the US, or France for that matter, you are all-too-familiar with the heat. It’s hot! The weathermen said last night that here in Georgia we have experienced our 11th straight day of 90-plus degree temperatures. Make that 12. Philly closed schools twice last week due to the heat and several school districts in the northern part of the US are also doing the same today. Delaware schools, Baltimore schools, New Jersey schools, closing due to excessive heat.
The heat is an issue but I wanted to embed it in a larger context to show how one ‘natural disaster’ impacts another and how, like a rolling blackout, the heat issues are rolling one into other issues, affecting outcomes in completely different parts of the world and in different ways. The results of globalization made manifest…
First, the US news,
Wichita experiences rare ‘heat burst’ overnight
“Last night Wichita experienced a very rare weather phenomenon known as a “Heat Burst.” At 12:22 a.m. the temperature at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport was 85 degrees. At 12:44 the temperature spiked to 102 degrees. This was a 17 degree increase in only 20 minutes. Winds also gusted between 50 and 60 MPH. The heat burst winds and temperatures rapidly dissipated as they spread across Sedgwick and Southern Butler Counties.”
NOAA wrote: “An unusual heat burst occurred shortly after midnight on June 9, 2011, across the Wichita area. The temperature jumped some 15 to 20 degrees in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes, rising from the low to mid 80s to around 102 degrees. The sudden rise in the thermometer was accompanied by a downburst of winds that gusted to near 60 mph in some locations.”
Very rare, and unusual weather phenomena are happening on a regular basis. At some point, when these phenomena happen enough, they will no longer be ‘rare’. Anyway, heat overall is plaguing much of America:
Heat gripping half of US expected to last for days
“The six-to-10-day outlook from the federal Climate Prediction Center calls for continued above-average readings centered on the mid-South, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and extending as far as the Great Lakes and New York and New Jersey. Authorities say hot weather was so intense in southwestern Michigan that it buckled pavement on an interstate, forcing the roadway to close for a few hours Wednesday, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.”
“France on drought alert after hottest spring since 1900”
France is now on heatwave alert after the hottest spring since 1900 has left water tables down and farmers struggling to feed their livestock. The Health Ministry has put into effect level one of an anti-drought plan that was drawn up after 15,000 people died in the long-hot summer of 2003. … Spring this year has been the hottest since at last 1900 and the driest for 50 years. Temperatures have been 2.6°C higher than the average between 1971 and 2000.”
We know that the heat wave has implications. In the US, those negative effects become apparent easily with the cost of energy. When you get your bill, you just holler. People who are not working, or working for less than they need to live, are going to struggle to pay higher cooling bills. It is a terrible choice to have to make when you have a dilemma between cooling your family or feeding them.
For Kansas farmers, when the land becomes so dry, it costs them more to harvest the field than it does to let it go. In rural areas, when water runs out, chickens die. Drought-hit Texas is on the brink of losing all the cotton. “Reeling from the worst drought in a century, cotton farmers in Texas are on the brink of writing off their withered plants this year and collecting the insurance.”
Those are the obvious, and local impacts to one example of a disaster. But as this article from STRATFOR shows, the effects of the wild weather in the world is affecting part of the word far from where the events occur. The Japan tsunami and nuclear meltdown is affecting France…
Political implications of a French heat wave
“France is expecting to have an epic heat wave this summer, which, due to a combination of political and environmental factors, will have some serious repercussions for the political scene in Paris. Spring 2011 has been exceptionally hot in France. In fact, has been the hottest in 100 years. Furthermore, it has been the driest spring in the last 50 years and therefore this summer is expected to be one of the hottest on record and that includes the 2005 and 2003 heat waves which were quite serious for France. In 2003 heat wave in France was exceptionally severe, with the French minister of health issuing a report that said that about 15,000 people may have died as result of increased temperatures. The 2003 heat wave also had political repercussions. Then-French President Jacques Chirac reshuffled his Cabinet the following year and in 2005, France voted against the EU constitutional treaty in a public referendum. In many ways, the referendum was not really a “no” against Europe as much as a vote of no-confidence to Chirac’s government for a slew of issues, one of which was how the government handled the heat wave in both 2003 and the summer of 2005.”
“This time around the effects of the heat wave could even be greater. This is primarily because neighboring Germany has taken eight nuclear reactors off-line — seven immediately after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This was a political decision for Berlin, with Chancellor Angela Merkel hoping to score political points before important regional elections by catering to environmentalists’ demands. However, this takes off-line about 40 percent of Germany’s nuclear capacity and Germany is one of the two countries along Great Britain from which France imports electricity during the high-usage months in the summer. The reason importing electricity from Germany and the U.K. will be particularly important for France during a drought is because 24 of its 58 nuclear reactors do not have cooling towers and purely depend on the flow of river water to cool the reactor cores. What this means is that if the level of water in rivers drops, it means that some of the reactors may have to be shut down especially those on the Rhone River in southwest France, where temperatures are expected to be particularly high due to its geographical location.”
“Nonetheless, the heat wave could result in two repercussions. First, it could seal the fate of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, since presidential elections would be seven to eight months after the end of August. And second, it could cause a debate within France on nuclear power in general, even though one of the lessons that France could learn from the crisis is that it doesn’t need to switch away from nuclear power but rather build more, both to sustain its electricity demand during the summer months and also to potentially export it at lucrative prices to neighboring Germany, which has already decided to shut down its nuclear power plants by 2022.”
Many nations are staggering under the economic weight of rebuilding after a natural disaster. The floods in the US and the tornado outbreak has set the United States back hundreds of millions, at a time when we learn that we are paying our military on four open war fronts. Spain, Europe’s largest farm market, is reeling from the ban on fresh vegetable imports even as they are ordered to dump millions of pounds of food in the German e coli scare. Haiti never recovered from the 2010 earthquake and Japan may never recover from the massive quake in March 2011, tsunami, and 3 nuclear meltdowns. The financial and economic impacts are obvious. What is not so obvious are the political and societal ramifications of successive and relentless disasters. Those ramifications will continue to increase, as birth pangs do, until in the Tribulation, everyone on the face of the globe is eventually affected.