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Climate change could lead to severe weather in Tennessee
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Climate change could lead to severe weather in Tennessee

Henry Rothenberg.jpg


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee’s more frequent snowstorms cause weather experts to cite climate change and call on city leaders to consider adjusting infrastructure planning to account for changes in the weather.

The snow averages in Tennessee for the season were broken by the third week of January.

“Things we are starting to see happening that we had warned could happen for a while are beginning to happen. We can look back to many years ago and the devastating wildfires in East Tennessee that resulted from the drought. We have seen severe tornadoes more than we used to seeing in the last few years in Middle Tennessee and in southern Kentucky,” Henry Rothenberg (NewsChannel 5 Meteorologist) said.

He stated that both car emissions and development also cause a temperature change.

He explained that “It is definitely one thing with climate change we have been talking about, but we are beginning to see, you know? Much more significant wildfires and stronger storms, larger winter weather events.”

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Claire Kopsky

Henry Rothenberg, NewsChannel 5 Meteorologist Henry Rothenberg

Professor Hiba Baroud was a Vanderbilt University Civil Engineering Assistant. She spent much of her career trying to prepare cities for future changes.

“We are interested understanding how infrastructure and people respond to and react to disasters. These disasters occur as a result a hazard, which in this case is the weather. However, it also happens when that natural hazards intersects with our vulnerability (or the vulnerability of infrastructure) when it’s not well maintained. [The]She explained that a collision of these two can lead directly to disaster.”

She stressed the importance of ensuring that the major infrastructure systems within a city are in communication and work together to prevent such disasters.

She stated that “any kind of infrastructure, be it roads, transportation, or the power grid, or water distribution system, has specific designs with respect that that would withstand any environmental conditions.” “And so it’s crucial when planning for the future to incorporate that future environment with our planning today.”

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Claire Kopsky

Professor Hiba Baroud, Vanderbilt University Civil Engineering Associate

She is not only an engineer but also studies the changing Arctic, and how it affects our lives.

“The sea-ice melting is causing all kinds of changes. And to think that it’s just the Arctic’s problem. Is not–it’s actually not true, essentially, it’s affecting the whole world,” explained Baroud. “Sea ice melting and warming Arctic has a significant impact on the Arctic, but it’s also having an effect on us here in South. This is evident from what we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks.” [in Tennessee].”

She explained that the Arctic is responsible for the “warming” of the world, despite the term “global warming”. Scientists believe the recent cold spells could be caused by a virus..

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Baroud stated that the January snowstorms in Tennessee were “a wake-up call” that we must plan for everything. This includes not just the expected outcome, but also the unexpected.

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), said that a significant part of their mission centers around “the operation of all weather conditions in the system, including inclement….” Over the past 7-years, TDOT has modernized its snow response equipment fleet. TDOT staff work all year to keep the fleet in a ready state for all inclement events.

According to the Department’s website, it reviews its budgets each year and its performance during major hurricane events. TDOT stated that it maintains open communication with other states to ensure it has the industry information and knowledge necessary to implement best practices in the state.

Rothenberg stated, “I think the growth in Nashville and across the country, I think is a good thing. But, weather, it’s a big puzzle.” “What’s happening here will somehow impact over there which will impact up there which can impact you, know, here in Middle Tennessee or southern Kentucky. It’s not only here, but all over the world. There are also many variables and contributors that impact the environment. As I said, car emissions, co2 gases, and other things like that are all factors in that we’ll continue this trend.


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