22 April 2013

"The forces of nature ..."



13 Iyyar 5773
Day 28 of the Omer

It can't be coincidence that one of the first messages I translated from Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi came from the time of Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim and the last one I translated was also from the time period of Parshat Kedoshim. Now, here we are just after Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim again.

Look at what he said exactly three years ago today (by the secular calendar):

INTERPRETING EVENTS IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL AND THE WORLD
Parshat Acharei Mot - Kedoshim, 10 Iyyar 5770 (22 Apr '10)

IN NATURE

What were you thinking, that what’s happening in the world is not from the hand of HKB”H?! Not from the power of G-d?! Is the planet going crazy? A volcano erupts, grounding planes and cancelling flights, is this temporary? Only the hand of G-d is in this thing. Thousands of travelers are unable to move, grounded. Merchandise is grounded, commerce – jammed, causing very great financial damage. Is all this only temporary? Every person understands that the Master of the World did this. It may be that many other places in the world will have volcanoes, floods, mudslides, intense and severe storm winds, and complications between countries and within them.* Hashem has an argument with them. You don’t see the hand of G-d in this thing? What more do you need to understand? That the Master of the World is angry!?

Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi has been consistent in his message that the forces of nature would continue to figure prominently and would grow in scope and strength.

This was a year before the Japanese Tsunami and two and a half years before Superstorm Sandy. And how many other crazy events have been happening in between and even up until today...

Extreme Drought to Extreme Flood: Weather Whiplash Hits the Midwest

It seems like just a few months ago barges were scraping bottom on the Mississippi River, and the Army Corps of Engineers was blowing up rocks on the bottom of the river to allow shipping to continue. Wait, it was just a few months ago--less than four months ago! 

Water levels on the Mississippi River at St. Louis bottomed out at -4.57' on January 1 of 2013, the 9th lowest water level since record keeping began in 1861, and just 1.6' above the all-time low-water record set in 1940 (after the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s.) 

But according to National Weather Service, the exceptional April rains and snows over the Upper Mississippi River watershed will drive the river by Tuesday to a height 45 feet higher than on January 1. The latest forecast calls for the river to hit 39.4' on Tuesday, which would be the 8th greatest flood in history at St. Louis, where flood records date back to 1861. 

Damaging major flooding is expected along a 250-mile stretch of the Mississippi ....

Residents along the Mississippi River have experienced a severe case of flood-drought-flood weather whiplash over the past two years. 

The Mississippi reached its highest level on record at New Madrid, Missouri on May 6, 2011, when the river crested at 48.35'. Flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers that year cost an estimated $5 billion. The next year, after the great drought of 2012, the river had fallen by over 53' to an all time record low of -5.32' on August 30, 2012. Damage from the great drought is conservatively estimated at $35 billion.

Next Tuesday, the river is expected to be at flood stage again in New Madrid, 40' higher than the August 2012 record low. Now, that is some serious weather whiplash. Seemingly contradictory predictions from climate models state that the world will see both worse floods and worse droughts due to global warming. Well, we have seen a classic example in the Midwest U.S. over the past two years of just how this kind of weather whiplash is possible.  (H/T Global Disaster Watch)