Do you ever feel a sense of unease as you pass a semi on the highway? Something about the imposing wall of blank, white metal makes the situation feel dangerous, like you shouldn’t spend a second longer than you have to in making a pass. That instinct may be overkill in most situations, the truck probably won’t actually hit you, but storms can be a terrifying edge case — as this video out of Nebraska shows.
Last week, wind storms ravaged the Midwest, doing enough damage to kill five people. Trees were felled, roads were obscured by dust, and multiple semi trucks were overturned by the wind. The Nebraska State Police caught one incident on video, as shared by NowThis on Twitter:
The National Weather Service said there have been 13 tornado reports in the Plains states, scattered through eastern Nebraska and Iowa. Winds topped 70 mph through much of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
“To have this number of damaging wind storms at one time would be unusual anytime of year,” said Brian Barjenbruch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska. “But to have this happen in December is really abnormal.”
Scientists say extreme weather events and warmer temperatures, much like what’s happening, are more likely to occur with human-caused climate change. However, scientifically attributing a specific event like this storm system to global warming requires specific analysis and computer simulations that take time, haven’t been done and sometimes show no clear connection.
“I think we also need to stop asking the question of whether or not this event was caused by climate change. All events nowadays are augmented by climate change,” said Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini. “We need to be asking, `To what extent did climate change play a role and how likely was this event to occur in the absence of climate change?’”
While individuals may not be solely responsible for climate change, we’re left to deal with its effects. So, next time you’re in a heavy storm, keep away from tractor trailers — you never know when a gust may send one flying.