Saturday, June 30, 2012

Derecho Wake Up Call


Our region got an experience- a thunder storm on steroids moving at violent speed.   It is called a derecho (duh-RAY'-choh), a straight line wind storm that sweeps over a large area at high speed. Working outside for over 40 years I have seen some hot filthy air and weather.  I gather this may have some reason why latter we got slammed by hurricane winds.  Last night I felt like a tornado was coming. 

This storm created havoc in for tens of millions of Americans after its Friday evening June 29th impact. Coming from the Midwest, it produced tornado-like damage packing wind gusts of up to 90 mph. You can go to http://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/AbtDerechos/derechofacts.htm to see the graphic pictures of the gust front of "arcus cloud of a derecho front. These storms stretched 750 miles from Chicago to the Atlantic Ocean, causing at least 900 reports of wind damage as well as numerous fatalities and injuries.

My experience with the after effects of this storm is that we are so vulnerable with our dependence on a centralized electric grid and fossil fuels. Both back-up air conditioning systems and bare bone electric battery battery storage technology needs to excel. Ironically, the energy that we power our lives may also be an accessory to stimulating these “heat waves.” Is this a wake-up call for us or will we return to our summer sloth? 

Developing decentralized back-up energy systems has major national security ramifications.  Also we may find “cooler” returns on our vital environmental investments. If we continue to bury our heads in the ground maybe we will find out the earth is getting hotter.  

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