Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Mr. Orwell Comes to Virginia

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it." -- George Orwell, 1984

You know a political movement is desperate to maintain control of the debate when it starts banning language itself.  And so my jaw dropped when I saw the following in the Virginian-Pilot:

State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the "sea level rise" study in the General Assembly to one on "recurrent flooding," said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.

He said "sea level rise" is a "left-wing term" that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?

"What people care about is the floodwater coming through their door," Stolle said. "Let's focus on that. Let's study that. So that's what I wanted us to call it."

Wow.  Just wow.  Since when did "sea level rise" become a "left-wing term"?

Major Flooding Paralyzes Northern Virginia

Heavy - perhaps historic - rains and flooding are inundating parts of Northern Virginia tonight. Some Huntington residents are being urged to evacuate due to flooding. As of 7:35pm, the Beltway was closed in both directions in Alexandria. WTOP reports Cameron Run threatens to overtop the Beltway. Check the Washington Post's @PostLocal Twitter feed for the latest updates.

According to the Post's Capital Weather Gang, "Some rainfall totals in southern Fairfax County in just the [6-7pm] hour have been 3-4"!" The photo at left was taken tonight above the Reston north commuter parking lot for the Fairfax Connector.

And it's not expected to improve much in the next few hours. CWG says, "Areas currently experiencing heavy rain may not see signficant improvement until after midnight. Rain is not moving quickly. This may have some in­cred­ibly bad consequences."

I just drove from Richmond to my home in Falls Church. It was sunny when we left Richmond, but the drive from Fredericksburg north featured some of the heaviest rain I've ever driven through - and I drove through Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I couldn't see tail lights further than 50 yards in front of my car. Fortunately, everyone slowed down to about 35mph & we didn't see any accidents.

How was your drive home? What are you seeing in your community? Let us know in comments.

UPDATE 8:46pm: @BreakingNews cites AP as reporting floods have killed two people in Northern Virginia. The Washington Post reports one of the victims was the child earlier reported washed away by Piney Branch Creek in Vienna. Reports of I66 west closed near Route 50 & VRE trains being forced to turn back on the Manassas line due to flash flooding.

UPDATE 9:40pm: CWG reports Fairfax County Schools will be closed on Friday.

Photo via Laura Cochran

2010: Not Just Warmest Year, Also the Wettest

The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. It's no wonder then that 2010, tied for the hottest year on record, was also the wettest:

Learn more about how the climate crisis is bringing more freak floods at NWF.org/ExtremeWeather.

Freak Floods? Or The New Normal?

Just weeks after flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky & Mississippi killed at least 31 people, floods in Arkansas killed at least 20 people this week. And today, parts of Oklahoma City have gotten over 9 inches of rain. An Oklahoma City official told CNN, "Areas are flooding that have never flooded before."

Should we keep calling these "freak floods" or "extreme weather"? Or, given that these kinds of severe storms are exactly what climate scientists have been predicting as a consequence of global warming, do we have to re-adjust what we consider "normal"?

As Brad Johnson tweeted, welcome to the Anthropocene.