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Weather Woes Grip Planet

While unprecedented flooding cripples Britain and Texas andhundreds die in Asian 'rain bombs,' the western UnitedStates is experiencing drought so extreme that thousands ofsquare miles of desert and forest are burning, and thepersistence of the weather patterns suggest that they areindicators of fundamental climate change.

Flooding in Britain has left three quarters of a millionpeople in Britain without drinkable water and 50,000 morewithout power. Not even the great flood of 1947, which wasthe benchmark for the past hundred years, was greater thanwhat is happening there now.

Rivers are overflowing, whole towns are cut off, vast areasare under water, and the country's entire infrastructure isthreatened if the waters do not soon receed.

Every river in Texas is in flood stage right now, for thefirst time since 1957. 'Rain bomb' is becoming a commonplaceterm in the state, as communities experience explosive,unprecedented rainfalls of 10 inches or more. On June 28,Marble Falls, Texas, received 19 inches of rain.

Meanwhile, across Asia, unusually fierce seasonal rainfallhas killed hundreds, caused landslides, and disrupted travelfrom India to Indonesia. At least 750 people have beenkilled and an estimated two million left homeless byflooding in an area that is well prepared for the seasonalrainfall pattern called the monsoon. But this year's monsoonhas been a costly monster.

In all three cases, the unusual weather appears to berelated to changing ocean currents, but the scientificevidence is not yet clear. Reduced Gulf Stream flow isalmost certainly affecting weather in Europe, and inparticular in the British Isles. The Texas storms arerelated to a persisten weather pattern that is drawingmoisture off the Gulf of Mexico, and nobody really knows whythe Asian monsoon has bee so ferocious this year.

Across the western US, dozens of fires burned and millionsof acres remained under extreme threat of fire as many areasexperience their driest years on record.

To read more about the British floods,clickhere.

To read more about the western wildfires,clickhere.

To read more about Texas,clickhere.

To read more about Asia,click here.

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