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Weather Talk: Don't be surprised by unusual weather

There is a natural tendency for people to base their expectations of weather and climate on what they have seen in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, a few decades (or less) is not enough time to see the extreme variety of weather which can occur ov...

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There is a natural tendency for people to base their expectations of weather and climate on what they have seen in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, a few decades (or less) is not enough time to see the extreme variety of weather which can occur over a longer period of time.

Few people today remember the 1957 Fargo tornado or the 1930s drought. No one today remembers the cold years of the 1880s. So when weather extremes occur, it seems as if the impossible is happening. We expect flooding in spring but what about a major flood in the summer? We have gotten used to rainy summers but we should be prepared for a drought. We know what to do when a tornado hits in the evening but what if one happens late at night?

It is the extraordinary, not the ordinary weather that causes real problems. The lesson here is to not be surprised by weather that seems unusual. Unusual weather is nothing new; it is just less common. 

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