2008 has been a year of extreme extreme weather for the United States so farFrom Miami to Seattle to Boston to Las Vegas, serious drought, historic flooding, sweltering heat and bitter cold have hit the country- and almost all of it during the months of May and June.
American meteorologists are citing an unusual late spring weather pattern for the spike in extreme weather. The jet stream, a narrow column of fast-moving winds in the mid-levels of the atmosphere which heavily influences temperature and precipitation, has been blamed for much of the widespread extreme weather across the United States. The jet stream has been stationary in an abnormal position, dipping in the mountain west and rising in the east, with the heart of the stream flowing through the center of the country. The dip in the west has allowed cold weather to filter through and bring extreme cold and even snow to parts of Montana and Idaho, while the rise in the east has brought extreme heat from the Gulf of Mexico, and minimal precipitation has fallen over the southeastern US.
But it's been the jet stream's flow through the center of the country that has produced the most damage. Pictures reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath are headlining American news networks, this time displaying images from the upper mid western states of Iowa and Wisconsin, where crippling and historic flooding has washed away homes and businesses not accustomed to intense flooding.