On today's BradCast: Hurricane Matthew has already wrought death and destruction in the Caribbean, is already breaking records as it bears down on the U.S. Southeastern seaboard, and is "not your grandfather's weather" thanks to global warming, according to my guest, a 40-year veteran broadcast meteorologist. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
With states of emergency declared in Florida and several other states, and millions of Americans scrambling to get out of harms way, I'm joined today by longtime weather forecaster, Star-Tribune blogger and self-identified "Ronald Reagan conservative" Paul Douglas, to discuss the deadly and extraordinarily dangerous Hurricane Matthew as it aims for the East Coast of Florida. (That's not a Halloween decoration, it's an actual infrared satellite photo of the storm in the logo above, as the eye passed over Cuba earlier this week.)
Douglas explains what makes this currently Category 4/5 storm and its path so unusual and how it could actually end up hitting some of the same places twice if it stays on its currently projected bizarre U-turn trajectory.
"Matthew is going to grind up the coast. There's going to be a long stretch of coastline that's impacted by this storm surge. Because much of the circulation is going to remain out over water, it isn't going to fizzle like a normal hurricane," he tells me, adding that it "went from a tropical storm to a Category 5 in 36 hours [because] water temperatures in the Caribbean are running several degrees above average. It's the old 'weather on steroids' analogy. We are super-sizing a lot of these storms."
Because of that, he says, the storm surge could be as much as 9 feet above normal tides. "This is what kills people. It's not the winds. It's not even as much the inland rain. It's the storm surge that can cut off escape routes." And, as to that currently projected U-turn for the storm after it's moved up the coast? "I don't want to overstate it, but this could be unprecedented in terms of the track, the intensity, the amount of real estate that's impacted by this storm surge, and the fact that it's taking this bizarre loop potentially."
I ask Douglas, who has just co-authored the new book Caring for Creation: The Evangelicals Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment with minister and coal miner's son Rev. Mitch Hescox (also a previous guest on The BradCast), to respond to Rush Limbaugh's latest hurricane conspiracy theory, which Douglas dispatches with actual facts and science, explaining: "The atmosphere doesn't care what you believe. The atmosphere responds to physics and chemistry. We've been fiddling with the chemistry of the atmosphere. We've been poking at the climate system with a long, sharp carbon-tipped spike, and then acting surprised when the weather bites back."
I also ask the self-described "Ronald Reagan-Teddy Roosevelt conservative who believes that conservatives should actually conserve," about why he believes corporate media fail to connect climate change dots and, at least so far, to raise the issue of global warming in Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. We discuss that, and much more. I'd suggest that this is another must-listen conversation, no matter what comes of Matthew in the next several days.
Also today (and not unrelated): Donald Trump, who has a record of politicizing election-year hurricanes, has named a Koch Industries climate denying lobbyist to head up his Energy Transition Team. And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on Matthew, the VP debate, the Paris Agreement, and Canada's surprising announcement of a national carbon tax...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)