From 2010-mid 2015, my state of Oklahoma was in a drought. Most of us were getting used to our dry yards — the huge cracks in mine no longer phased me. Seeing rivers barely flowing, lakes dry up, and the nearby National Park’s waterfalls merely puddles, was becoming the new normal.
The summer of 2014 was tough for Oklahoma. Native American tribes held rain dances, people prayed, and when the rain came it wasn’t uncommon to see people dancing in the streets, full of joy. Wheat, one of Oklahoma’s main crops, suffered terribly — and cattle ranchers struggled to keep their herds fed.
Yet, last summer Oklahoma went from a record drought, to record flooding.
The month of May brought on severe weather. In my part of the state, we had over 75 flash flood warnings, 295 severe weather warnings, and 125 tornado warnings. The May flooding also cost 28 people their lives, including a first responder. Then in June we saw more rain, bring an abrupt end to the 2010-2015 drought. In July, generally the driest month, in just 24 hours, my town received 7.66 inches of rain and a man had to be rescued from a flooded creek.
It’s hard to link one weather event to climate change. However, we can’t ignore the fact that climate change makes flooding worse, and more likely.
“There are several factors that have created conditions that made it more likely to have this disastrous situation, and I would say the majority of them are natural factors. However, there’s a definite climate assist that creates the likelihoods of the odds of it being a more severe event.” –Brenda Ekwurzel, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.
President Obama also spoke about the link as well:
“When you combine stronger storms with rising seas, that’s a recipe for more devastating floods.”-
He went on to say we must stay focused on, “becoming more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate that are having significant effects on both the pace and intensity of some of these storms.” ~ President Obama
Being prepared for extreme weather events is extremely important, but scientists tells us these weather events will continue to become more and more severe. So we must curb the advance of climate change. Yet, Oklahoma’s Senator James Inhofe, leads a pack of political deniers that are planning attacks to block the implementation of the Clean Power Plan. This plan will not only help to reduce our risk of dangerous weather in Oklahoma, it protects our families from harmful carbon pollution that threatens our health.