The Unruly, Unrestrained Jet Stream

“Record snowfall, killer tornadoes, devastating floods: There’s no doubt about it. Since Dec. 2010, the weather in the USA has been positively wild. But why?”

So starts an article published in Science@Nasa last June called What’s to Blame for the Wild Weather?

(Shall I add extreme drought and heat leading to horrific forest fires that have both scorched the southwest and are even now burning up Oklahoma?)

Some say it’s because of La Nina,  a band of cold water that sometimes stretches across the Pacific, and affects global weather patterns. We’ve had La Nina conditions before, however, and not all these weird weather problems.

NASA climatologist Bill Patzert doesn’t think it’s La Nina either.  “La Niña was strong in December,” he says. “But back in January it pulled a disappearing act and left us with nothing – La Nada – to constrain the jet stream. Like an unruly teenager, the jet stream took advantage of the newfound freedom–and the results were disastrous.”

“By mid-January 2011, La Niña weakened rapidly and by mid-February it was adios, La Niña, allowing the jet stream to meander wildly around the US. Consequently the weather pattern became dominated by strong outbreaks of frigid polar air, producing blizzards across the West, Upper Midwest, and northeast US.”

And that wasn’t all it produced as spring came and the unruly jet stream continued to be uncontrolled. Russell Schneider, Director of the NOAA-NWS Storm Prediction Center, explains:

“First, very strong winds out of the south carrying warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico met cold jet stream winds racing in from the west. Stacking these two air masses on top of each other created the degree of instability that fuels intense thunderstorms.”

According to NASA author Dauna Coulter, “Extreme contrasts in wind speeds and directions of the upper and lower atmosphere transformed ordinary thunderstorms into long-lived rotating supercells capable of producing violent tornadoes.”

And climatologist Patzert adds, “The jet stream — on steroids — acted as an atmospheric mix master, causing tornadoes to explode across Dixie and Tornado Alleys, and even into Massachusetts.”

I love his description of an unruly jet stream, free to roam about as it chooses — with devastating results. Because what a parallel to a people who have rejected God and gone their own way.

Especially when you combine the weather problems with the economic woes, the war issues, the rising crime, the emergence of mobs of young people running amok in various cities from Chicago to DC to Orlando…  I really do think God is trying to get our attention…

Read the article and look at the pictures HERE.

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1 Response to “The Unruly, Unrestrained Jet Stream”


  1. 1 Gayle August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Karen, I am going to send you a couple of things from Pecos. They tie in with this post. These weather trends are grueling for those of us who are living in the drought and heat. Love that He controls all things…


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