For over a decade climatologists have been saying, and I have been reporting, that we will be seeing more extremes in weather. This goes unnoticed in the here and now of daily reporting, but it's true.
Here's a map of yesterday's thunderstorms over Gotham and the East:
The severe storms covered an unusually large area, erupting along a 1,500-mile long swath of the country from Texas to Connecticut. The intensity of the thunderstorms was increased by a very hot and moist airmass; temperatures in the mid to upper 90s were common across the region Thursday. A number of record highs for the date were set, including a 98° reading at Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport.
Last year Hurricane Irene hit New England, which was unusual (but certainly not unprecedented) behavior for a tropical cyclone spawned in the Atlantic. What made Irene really striking to the experts was not its ferocity nor its path but its magnitude -- the size of Europe.