Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Point/counterpoint: Duluth's got it good (and that's bad)

Want to Escape Global Warming? These Cities Promise Cool Relief.  (The New York Times, 4/15/2019)
Nowhere in the world is immune from climate change, including Duluth. “We’re getting more precipitation in bigger amounts than we ever really observed,” said Kenneth Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “But when you stand back and look around, it’s almost like, ‘But we’ve got it good.’”

And how good do they have it?

Extreme weather impacts tourism, city budgets. (Business North, 6/17/2019)
In an odd series of events, Duluth’s most recent extreme storms all occurred in either October or April. This unfortunate trend began in October 2017, followed by another extreme storm in April 2018. October 2018 brought the most devastating event of all, and was followed up with another wallop in April 2019. 
These storms caused an inordinate amount of damage, for a few key reasons. Exceptionally high lake levels, combined with sustained northeast winds, created a storm surge phenomenon. Winds were clocked at more than 70 mph (winds are considered “hurricane force” at 74 mph). Sustained over days, these extreme conditions caused damage almost everywhere Lake Superior meets the land. 
In addition to ripping up Duluth’s shoreline, the Lakewalk and boardwalk were severely damaged. Boulders and other lake debris were lifted from the lake and deposited on land. Light fixtures were ripped up and overturned, exposing dangerous live wires. Additional damage was done to storm sewer outfalls and the road running parallel to Brighton Beach.

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