A Tuesday tweet from a U.S. government scientific agency seems relatively innocuous: “Winter storms do not prove global warming is not happening.”
The message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is devoted to climate science and information, includes a link citing research that severe snowstorms may be even more likely in a warming global climate because higher ocean temperatures appear to create more moisture.
Many are viewing Tuesday's post as a rebuttal to President Trump’s tweet late Monday noting an approaching deep freeze for the American Midwest and asking “What the hell is going on with Global Waming (sic). Please come back fast, we need you.”
A polar vortex has returned this week to the Midwest bringing extremely low temperatures that could break records.
NOAA denies any connection between the president’s comment and its social media posting.
“We routinely put this story out at these times,” the agency said in a statement. “Our scientists weren’t responding to a tweet.”
Most scientists say there is little valid research to counter the prevailing view climate change is real and note research also demonstrates that with global warming there will be more frequently extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer.
With a forecast of icy roads around the nation’s capital, one item of unanimous consent throughout the Trump administration Tuesday is non-emergency federal workers – just two days back on the job after a record-long shutdown – could leave early because of the weather.
“Employees of Federal offices in the Washington, D.C., area are authorized for early departure,” according to a notice from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”
The notification is intended, in part, to alleviate congestion on streets that could soon become hazardous.
The ability of a mere dusting of snow or sheets of ice on roadways and sidewalks to create pandemonium in the U.S. center of power frequently puzzles those who have migrated to this part of the country from harsher winter climates.
A January 2016 snowstorm paralyzed the region, although only 2.5 centimeters of snow fell on Washington, D.C. roadways. There were hundreds of traffic accidents and many motorists abandoned their vehicles on highways after untreated roads became impassible with black ice.
The mess and lack of preparedness prompted a public apology by the mayor of Washington, D.C.
Muriel Bowser was taking no such chances on Tuesday, three years after the so-called Snowzilla (not to be confused with the area’s December 2009 Snowpocalypse).
Mayor Bowser, on Tuesday announced she had requested an additional $1 million from the city’s contingency fund “to cover higher costs than anticipated for salt/de-icing as a result of Winter Storm Gia.”
The city also issued a hypothermia alert, which will keep shelters open during daylight hours so the estimated 7,000 homeless people in Washington will have a warm and safe place to stay.
A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists inside the Beltway.
“People in DC love to show how tough they are and call their opponents ‘snowflake,’” wrote Congressman Ben McAdams on Twitter. “Unless the weather forecast includes snowflakes, and then they cancel meetings, leave work early and buy all of the bottled water at the grocery store. Snowflakes.” He then tossed a promotional hashtag for a top winter recreational activity in his state that includes the Wasatch Mountain range: #SkiUtah.