MSNBC host Al Sharpton took to Twitter Thursday to ask people whether or not they thought the devastating floods in Texas were caused by man-made global warming or “God’s rebuke.”
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 27, 2015
So far, massive flooding in Oklahoma and Texas has killed about 24 people, with more injured and missing as rescuers continue to pull people out of the disaster zone. President Barack Obama even signed a disaster declaration for the flood regions, and Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping to assess damages to the impacted areas. The terrible event has sparked a debate about whether or not global warming is to blame for the flash floods, and Sharpton wants to get in on it. But Sharpton’s call for a discussion on Twitter was quickly mocked by dozens upon dozens of social mediaites. Here are some of those responses:
.@TheRevAl Do you think The Rev’s dumb questions are related to a broken education system or just plain idiocy? Call 8775325797 or tweet me
— Eric D. Silver™ (@RealEricSilver) May 27, 2015
@TheRevAl It is due to weather, you flipping moron.
— WalkerWarrior2016 (@jodikyman) May 27, 2015
@TheRevAl It’s punishment for frivolous lawsuits.
— Mad William Flint (@madwilliamflint) May 27, 2015
So are the Oklahoma-Texas floods being driven by global warming? Bill Nye the “Science Guy” says global warming is a factor in the flooding. He took to Twitter Tuesday to tell everyone his thoughts.
Climate researcher Katharine Hayhoe, who heads up Texas Tech’s Climate Science Center, told Scientific American that “[w[hile extreme weather events like droughts and floods occur naturally in Texas, precipitation in the state is becoming more variable, making droughts more potent and increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and flooding.”
CNN even published a story about how the Texas floods have put Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, in a “bind” on global warming. CNN reports Cruz has softened his tone on global warming in the wake of the floods.
So what’s the real answer? Is global warming to blame? Looking back at the data, there’s plenty of evidence showing that this type of weather is not unusual for Oklahoma or Texas — that’s not to diminish the tragedy of the current flooding.
In 1979, the Houston area of Texas got 43 inches of rain in one day. In 1952, a farmer near Blanco, Texas reported that nearly 23 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, and news reports indicate that dozens of homes had to be evacuated in the area.
Between 1836 to 1936, Harris County, Texas suffered through 16 massive floods, according to the county’s history, “some of which crested at more than 40 feet, turning downtown Houston streets into raging rivers.”
“Estimated property damage in 1929 was $1.4 million, a staggering sum at the time,” according to Harris County. “Losses more than doubled in 1935, when seven people were killed and the Port of Houston was crippled for months – its docks submerged, its channel clogged with tons of mud and wreckage, its railroad tracks uprooted. Twenty-five blocks of the downtown business district were inundated, as well as 100 residential blocks.”
[h/t Real Science]
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