Bizarre and Extreme – Now Commonplace Weather Words :: By Cynthia Nuara

Omar Baddour, chief of data management applications division at The World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, has this to say:

Each year we have extreme weather, but it’s unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once. Such events are increasing in intensity as well as frequency, a sign that climate change is not just about rising temperatures, but also about intense, unpleasant, anomalous weather of all kinds. states, “Record heat, deadly cold temperatures, flooding and rare snowfall – a wide range of extreme weather events have taken place around the world in the past few weeks.”

In the United States, last year was the hottest since records began. Now, the U.S. has just named its tenth noteworthy winter storm of the season, and it’s only January. Last Tuesday the U.S. suffered sub-zero wind chills, setting countless records.

California has been in a drought for the past three years, with this year being the driest since records have been kept, causing the governor to declare a drought emergency; 63% of California’s land area is considered to be in “extreme drought.” The Obama Administration declared 27 California counties, including most of the Bay Area, as “natural disaster areas.” Ponds and lakes are drying up, and cattlemen don’t have enough grass to feed their cattle.

California is the nation’s largest agricultural state, and repercussions from this situation will reach consumer pocketbooks in the form of higher prices for basic staples such as meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. One cattleman remarked, “If it doesn’t rain in another month there will be ranchers and farmers going out of business.”

However, the National Weather Service has announced that California is likely to have at least three more months of dry weather. Of course, this only increases the risk of wildfires.

In the Philippines, emergency workers evacuated thousands of people, including many already made homeless by a typhoon in November, after three days of rain flooded towns and farmland.

In South America, Brazil may be facing electricity rationing for the first time in 12 years due to a severe heat wave and lack of rain depleting reservoirs for hydroelectric plants. Rio de Janeiro experienced its highest temperature since records began 100 years ago: 109.8 degrees at the end of December.

In August, unusually heavy monsoon rains triggered flash floods and caused widespread losses and damage in Pakistan affecting 1.5 million people, almost 80,000 houses, and 1.5 million acres of crops. Southeastern Afghanistan was affected to a lesser degree.

China is encountering its coldest winter in almost 30 years. In Xinjiang, over 1000 houses collapsed due to unrelenting snow, and 180,000 livestock froze to death in Inner Mongolia. Crops have been devastated, which has caused the price of vegetables to soar.

The temperature in Eastern Russia plummeted to minus 50 degrees. Sicily and southern Italy experienced severe snow storms for the first time since World War II. In Norway this week a harsh wind caused temperatures to get so cold that thousands of fish swimming close to shore froze in place.

Australia, which is in summer now, is experiencing a current heat wave with bush fires raging. This heat wave has come after two of the country’s wettest years ever. On January 7th while America was experiencing sub-zero temperatures, Sydney, Australia experienced its fifth-hottest day since records began over 100 years ago. Temperatures reached 108.1 degrees.

This has caused 100,000 bats to fall from the sky and die, as well as many flying foxes. Australia fears this will have a devastating effect on the ecosystem. Bats benefit the world both economically and ecologically through insect control. Flying foxes feed on native blossoms and fruits, spreading seeds and pollinating native plants.

BCRQ president, Louise Sanders, said, “We have never seen this type of heat event devastation before and the massive amount of casualties as a result.”

While I’m on that subject, worldwide over 6 million bats have already died of a disease called “white nose fungus” over the past several years. Flying fox numbers were already in decline with some species classified as vulnerable to extinction. Several years ago began a dramatic rise in bee colony collapse in the U.S. A similar phenomenon was observed in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Reports also came in from Switzerland and Germany to a lesser degree. Northern Ireland reported a decline greater than 50%. Many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by European honey bees.

Although animals and fish have been dying all throughout history, we have not seen the massive consistent numbers that we are seeing today.

But getting back to the weather: People are used to rain in Britain, but not the massive rainfall and flooding that occurred three different times last year. The year 2012 was declared the wettest year in England by Britain’s weather service and the second wettest in all of Britain since records began to be kept over 100 years ago.

In the Middle East where some of the most extreme summer heat waves have been occurring with record high temperatures, a fierce winter storm recently brought rain, historic snow and floods. The heaviest December snowstorm in at least 50 years blanketed parts of Israel. It was the first time Cairo, Egypt had seen snow for over 100 years.

Barry Lynn, is a lecturer at the Hebrew University’s department of earth science and also runs a forecasting business. He said that the severe and prolonged cold in the upper atmosphere was a big-picture shift which indicates the Atlantic Ocean was no longer having the moderating effect on weather in the Middle East and Europe that it has historically. Lynn stated, “The intensity of the cold is unusual. It seems the weather is going to become more intense; there’s going to be more extremes.”

I could go on about these and other “signs of the times” that tell us we’re in the “times of the signs,” but I’ll just mention one more type of weather. Have you heard of “nuclear winter?” According to Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, if Iran wanted it would currently take the country “two to three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for a nuclear weapon.” Mankind has never invented a weapon that it didn’t eventually use. God’s Word describes just such a scenario during the Tribulation.

There are, no doubt, a lot of people who don’t want to hear that we’re in the end days. I understand that. I’m sick of BEING in the end days; it’s getting worse by the day – as it was in the days of Noah. No other generation has had ALL the signs coming together AT ONE TIME as this generation has. The Bible warns us that the generation who sees this happen will be the one to see Christ’s return. I’ve stated before that – along with getting the Gospel of Jesus Christ out to as many as we can, we Christians are also called to be watchmen on the wall and warn others that God’s judgment is coming upon the earth. Hopefully, they will listen and make Christ their Lord and Savior before it’s too late to make that decision. People need to know that time is short.

Grant Phillips wrote an excellent article on the Rapture Ready website titled, “The Rapture,” explaining how the Scriptures point to a Pre-Trib Rapture. Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21 describe how it will be just before Jesus returns to earth. We’re already seeing the beginning signs of the Tribulation. Therefore, how much closer must we be to the Rapture?

“In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know His return is very near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33).

One of my favorite songs from 1970 has the lyrics, “People say that He won’t come, and I don’t know what say you. But, if He should, would you be the one? I’ve got a little question I’d like to ask you, ‘Are you ready….?’”

If you have any doubts, here’s how to be ready:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).