Author: Donna Conneely
A quick internet search for “floods 2012” will bring up thousands of sites predicting apocalyptic floods, earthquakes, and general devastation for the coming year. Many people believe that the end of the world has been predicted for the year 2012 — this according to an ancient Mayan calendar, which ends abruptly on December 21. 2012. This date is regarded as the last date of the 5,125-year-long Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, and many believe that upon this date all manner of cataclysmic destruction will be unleashed upon the planet.
This belief in the coming “end-time” has been dismissed by scholars and scientists, who maintain that the astronomical predictions surrounding the 2012 Doomsday beliefs can be refuted by simple observation of contrary astrological phenomenon. Meteorologists, however, have been predicting a very destructive 2012 for other, more empirical reasons.
The year 2012 is presenting again with La Niña weather patterns, repeating the patterns that in 2011 caused massive flooding. This will be the second year in a row in which weather activity is heavily influenced by the La Niña climate factor. In particular, it is predicted that the following areas will experience wetter-than-average weather this winter: the Great Lakes regions, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, Northern Plains, California, and the Pacific Northwest. Above-average precipitation in these regions could result in above-average snow accumulation, which means a good chance of flooding when the snow-pack melts in the spring.
Another factor in predicting snowy winters — along with the floods that result from all that snow — is called the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation is a phenomenon that is always in play, fluctuating between positive and negative phases. During the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, cold air is pushed into the U.S. from Canada, which causes any precipitation to present as snow rather than rain. The Arctic Oscillation is impossible to predict far in advance, but this influence can wreak havoc, especially in the heavily-populated Northeast.
Quite apart from Doomsday predictions regarding the Mayan Calendar, 2012 is shaping up to be another year fraught with floods and weather-related disasters. While the snow-pack remains safely frozen, many business and property owners are already thinking about flood protection measures to put into place before the flooding arrives this spring. Some, frustrated by recurrent flooding over the past several years, have begun to invest in serious flood protection systems and automatic flood barriers. Those living in flood-prone regions, many of whom are still recovering from the severe floods of 2011, should perhaps follow their example.