January 10, 2013

U.S., Australia Deal with Record Heat


Julian: Scientists are saying that they are surprised by a jump in temperature which made 2012 the warmest year on record in the U.S.

Changes in temperatures usually come in small degrees, but the average for 2012 was 55.3-degrees and beat the old 1998 record by one full degree.

Last year was also a near-record for disasters including drought, wildfires and storms. There were 11 disasters that topped $1 billion in damage apiece. And the heat has been affecting states all across the country.

The West had devastating wildfires. One of those fires in Colorado left behind $350 million in damage, the most expensive in Colorado’s history. New Mexico’s largest wildfire on record burned more than 250,000 acres and destroyed more than 340 homes. In March, tornadoes tore across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, killing 42 people. In late August, Hurricane Isaac came ashore near the Mississippi River, claiming nine lives. And in October, superstorm Sandy brought a record storm surge to the New York and New Jersey coastlines. A hundred and thirty-one people were killed, six hundred and fifty thousand homes destroyed, and more than eight million homes and businesses lost power – some for weeks.

And it is not just here in the U.S. In Australia, where it is now summer, the record heat is literally off the charts. It is so hot down under, that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has added one new color to its climate chart – deep purple – which represents temperatures hotter than 122-degrees Fahrenheit.

And those hot temperatures are fueling wildfires all over Australia. More than 100,000 acres of land have been destroyed across southeast Australia and the island of Tasmania.

Australia’s government has labeled the fire conditions there as catastrophic.

Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.


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