- The United States has held a track record for hosting a number of aggressively destructive storms, most of which have names suggesting a much calmer demeanour. The storm labelled ‘Jonas’ is no different. Not to be confused with the popular pop trio, this catastrophic storm whirled into the east coast of the United States a few weeks ago and is showing no sign of stopping.
So what caused this weather phenomenon? Well, storms usually occur when precipitation in the form of snow or sleet get accumulated, or when the ground temperature is low enough to allow the rain to freeze up. In this case, cold winds from the Arctic and mid-Atlantic oceans mingled together, causing the Gulf Steam to rise and become unnaturally warm. Simultaneously, nearby jet steams caused these winds to move towards Louisiana, culminating in a thunderstorm.
But things only went downhill from there. This nasty concoction moved northwards and bashed into another cold layer of air coming from Canada. As mentioned earlier, sub-zero temperatures such as these basically act like a snow-making machine, which fell heavily upon the state of Washington DC, throwing the entire country into a frenzy . The winds eventually moved eastward from there and are currently attacking the United Kingdom.
While snow storms and blizzards may be quite common, Jonas was exceptionally monstrous due to a number of factors. The most important one is that it draws energy from two oceans coming together near the Gulf Stream, which gives it a near infinite amount of energy to cause massive destruction. Another one might be climate change. With an increase in global temperatures, seas levels also rise and add moisture to the air, giving such storms an extra push. This winter also happened to witness an usually warm El Nino, which added fuel to the fire.
This all sounds quite terrible, but a lot of weather forecasting helped prevent a lot of potential damage. In spite of this, nearly 33 million people were under blizzard warning, and at least 55 suffered fatally. As of now, the storm is raging over the UK under the name of Storm Gertrude with a speed of 144mph. Thousands were left without electricity, and England is presently on high alert.
Whether you call it Jonas, Gertrude or Snowzilla, this storm is being hailed as one of the worst to ever hit the US. It ranked a 4, or ‘crippling’, on the Regional Snowfall Index for northeast and southeast US, and has caused economic damage of nearly $850 million.
Not bad for a storm named after a band who starred in their own Disney show.