Saturday, June 15

Extreme Weather May be the New Norm

A bridge located on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles has recently been washed out, becoming a huge traffic disruption. This comes as an addition to a break in highway 89 due to a landslide, and flooding throughout the southern states. Extreme weather is becoming more and more common, and to say that it’s disconcerting may be an understatement.

The I-10 bridge has been partially reopened after a week, though drivers will still deal with half hour delays while crews begin rebuilding the bridge. It will be months before it’s fully reopened.

The bridge’s demise came after the region was hit with six inches of heavy rain, which weakened the supporting pillars. Some of those affected say that highway engineers likely did not expect a storm surge of that magnitude, but others say this is yet another indication of climate change that is leading to more severe weather with bigger swings between seasons.

Extreme weather is an increasingly big issue for both travel and homeowners. In Flagstaff, AZ, I-17 regularly shuts down due to heavy snow in the winter, and the region is preparing itself for more severe weather due to a strong El Nino effect predicted for this year. Air travel is also affected, and Flagstaff has not been able to combat this issue. There is already limited air travel, and having no strong plans for weather issues hurts travelers.

Another big risk for homeowners that experience during extreme weather events is damage to their property. Take the floods that swept through Texas earlier this year, for example. Many houses were at least partially destroyed, if not completely washed away. New roofs, which typically last 20-25 years, were ripped away like paper, and entire ground floors were swept away. The new pattern of extreme weather is scary to say the least.

In our modern world, connectivity — whether through the internet, phones, or roads — is incredibly important. With climate change leading to more extreme weather, it seems as though this may be “the new normal” for many regions. Being prepared for any situation is key to make it through this type of situation.

Many people are now calling on local governments to implement solid plans for the public to deal with any situation that may come up in their area. Only time will tell if these pleas are heard and whether or not governments will follow through.

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