A tornado approaching the town of Elie, Manitoba in 2007. GNU Free Documentation License. Photo by Justin Hobson (Justin1569 at English Wikipedia)
26 Jan 2023

North America´s stormy January - now 2023 is predicted to be even warmer than 2022


Rainstorms and floods have claimed 19 lives in Northern California, and another 9 have died in tornadoes in the south east. Now a powerful winter storm is moving north along the east coast. 

Millions of north americans remained under a winter storm watch on Wednesday January 25th,  as a storm pushing north from Florida, according to an article on BBC.com.

The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings on Wednesday, as the storm moved across north-west Florida and southern Georgia. On Tuesday, a tornado tore through Texas. More than 120,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas were without power on  Wednesday evening, according to PowerOutage.us.

"In my 25 years here, this is probably the worst damage I've seen," Josh Bruegger, a police chief in Pasadena, Texas, told reporters.

The storm and the tornadoes are far from the first to strike North America in 2023.

In the second week of January, at least nine people died when more than 35 tornadoes were reported by the National Weather Service (NWS) in just one day. Alabama and Georgia were the most affected states. 

During the same time period, more than 22 million people in California were under flood watch as heavy rains and strong winds struck for extended periods of time. At least 19 people died in the California floods, when at least nine different storms struck the state over the course of a couple of weeks. 

By the third week of January, the weather was finally starting to ease up in California, according to CNN. By then, 8 million people were still under flood watch.

Firefighting.com wrote in an article on January 16 about the numerous rescues firefighters performed in the wake of the California storms and floods: 

"... Up and down California, rescue teams such as Ventura’s have come to the aid of people stranded in flooded neighborhoods and trapped in cars after a series of winter storms battered California over the few past weeks... Although hundreds of people have been rescued, there have been at least 19 storm-related deaths in California. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the storms had claimed “more lives than wildfires in the past two years combined.”


2023 predicted to be even warmer than 2022

Although it is too early to say if the North American storms in 2023 are connected with climate change or not, the observation of the unusual warm weather in Europe during the same first few weeks of 2023, causes some scientists to worry what 2023 may have in store. 2022 was a catastrophic year almost around the globe, with extreme heat, droughts and unusual storms. 

In an article in the Guardian on January 16, scientists warn of the effects of the weather pattern El Niño returning in 2023. Scientists claim the effects of El Niño,  coupled with growing climate crisis, is likely to push global temperatures even higher than 2022. 

The hottest year in recorded history, 2016, was driven by a major El Niño type of weather pattern. 2022 is already forecast to be hotter than 2022, which global datasets rank as the fifth or sixth hottest year on record. However, the hottest year may still be 2024:

“It’s very likely that the next big El Niño could take us over 1.5C... The probability of having the first year at 1.5C in the next five-year period is now about 50:50”,  said Prof Adam Scaife, the head of long-range prediction at the UK Met Office to The Guardian. 


Photo Credit: A tornado approaching the town of Elie, Manitoba on June 22,  2007. GNU Free Documentation License. Photo by Justin Hobson (Justin1569 at English Wikipedia)