Powerful Blizzard Hits California and Nevada

    Powerful Blizzard Hits California and Nevada
    Image copyright: Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • A powerful blizzard pounded the Sierra Nevada mountain range across Northern California and parts of Nevada over the weekend, with officials issuing warnings for heavy snowfall and high winds.

    • Winds reportedly exceeded 100 mph (160 km/hr) at times, while snow up to 12 feet (3.6M) deep closed ski resorts, left thousands without power, and blocked roads — including large swaths of Interstate 80 in California.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Climate change is likely making blizzards more frequent and more intense. As greenhouse gases cause global temperatures to rise, a warming atmosphere holds more moisture, increasing the severity of winter storms. Addressing climate change is an important step to preventing an increase in disruptive weather events like this one.

    Narrative B

    While there are some links between severe weather events and climate change, not every storm is caused by climate change. Weather events like blizzards existed long before the heavy industrialization we associate with global warming. Blaming disruptive weather on climate change detracts from some human responsibility to create safe and reliable infrastructure and emergency services plans.

    Metaculus Prediction

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