Thank God there are — as of now, no reported deaths in the DFW area after yesterday's tornado outbreak. (I have friends there.) The devastation will surely take a toll on local economics, wildlife and ecosystems, however. The questions burning in my mind, how does this link to climate change? What's the history of tornadoes in the Dallas area? What size do tornadoes in this region tend to be? Are they often close to cities? What are scientists saying about the causes of yesterday's events, which threatened the lives of more than seven million Americans?
Turns out the climate science story on this is grouped under the very broad headline, "extreme weather events will increase as our climate system warms." More about that in a moment. Historically speaking, tornadoes in the Dallas area are somewhat common (see image below). Dallas County has had 75 recorded tornadoes since 1953, with the total number of fatalities at less than 20 people. (Good news.) But these tornadoes have historically been much smaller than yesterday's, with damages generally ranging from as low as $2,000 to $5 million per event. There have of course been larger moments, a string of tornadoes in 1994 looks to have caused well over $500 million in damages for instance…
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To help victims of yesterday's disaster please visit American Red Cross Disaster Relief, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone's local Red Cross chapter. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.