More snow, more salt, more problems

More snow, more salt, more problems

Just as one storm passed last weekend, here in D.C. (as well as across central and eastern parts of the country) we’re expected to get more winter weather. As USA Today reported, a pair of winter storms will dump snow and ice across the central and eastern U.S. over the next several days, with the second storm a potential blockbuster in some spots, with a foot of snow possible. However, with snow comes road salt to help it melt and prevent ice from forming. The downside of melting snow with rock salt is that when the snow melts most of that salt makes its way into waterways where it can harm aquatic species should enough of it accumulate. As CNN explained, salt can also change the way the water mixes and lead to the formation of salty pockets near the bottom of lakes, creating biological dead zones.

Continue Reading 380 words
Breaking:  Winter Storm Gia Expected to Bring Weekend Snow To Wide Swath of U.S.

Breaking:  Winter Storm Gia Expected to Bring Weekend Snow To Wide Swath of U.S.

A big snowstorm will barrel across the middle of the country over the weekend — following a 1500 mile pathway from Denver to Baltimore.  The storm will begin on Friday and last through late Sunday before it blows out to sea.  According to the National Weather Service, 20 million people are in the storm’s path, […]

Continue Reading 143 words
Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Among the most consequential impacts of the government shutdown are the strain and diminution of capacity to the National Weather Service (NWS) operations, upon which all public and private daily weather forecasts are based. 

Why This Matters: One-third of the U.S. economy is impacted by the weather.  Indeed, as The Post points out, that means many sectors such as transportation, energy, national security, agriculture, the stock market, not to mention forecasts of extreme weather — are now operating on less than the highly accurate forecasts they usually can rely upon. And imagine if we have a “billion dollar” storm such as a “snowmaggedon” while the shutdown drags on, with lives and profits at risk, which seems increasingly probable as we are now squarely in winter snow season.  Offices like the one that Saha works in are down to skeleton staff — only one or two rather than dozens.  This weather forecasting degradation is much riskier to the general public than any risk we face from the lack of a feckless border wall segment.  

Continue Reading 365 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.