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What’s Up With The Wild Weather?

Unseasonably warm temps across the country, tornadoes in the Great Plains, great hail in Texas. What’s going on?

A tornado forms and touches down north of Soloman, Kan., Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP)

A tornado forms and touches down north of Soloman, Kan., Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP)

A hundred-plus tornadoes last weekend in the Plains states.  No biggie.  No big deal.  We’re getting used to crazy weather.  We had a winter that in many states felt like spring.  A spring that in much of the country’s been racking up temps like summer.

Record highs all over.  Confused animals.  Crops out of order.  The latest polling says a large majority of Americans now believe the wild weather is being made worse by climate change.  Is it?  Is this it?

This hour, On Point:  does the wild weather mean climate change is moving in?  And we talk with two new Pulitzer prize winners who chased the weather.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Anthony Leiserowitz,  director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a Research Scientist at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. You can read about a new poll on American attitudes towards climate change here.

Heidi Cullen, research correspondent and scientist for Climate Central. She’s the author of “The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet.”

Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.

May Boeve, executive director and co-founder of the environmental group 350.org. Their new awareness campagin about climate change, “Connect the Dots” launches on May 5.

C-Segment: Prize-Winning Weather Coverage

Dusty Compton, a photographer with the Tuscaloosa News, he was part of the staff awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for their breaking news coverage of a deadly tornado that struck the city on April 27, 2011. You can find some of his photos here.

Wayne Grayson, reporter for the Tuscaloosa News, he was part of the staff awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for their breaking news coverage of a deadly tornado  that struck the city on April 27, 2011. You can read some of that reporting here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “It could have been so much worse. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours over the weekend. Cars were tossed through the air and houses were pulverized. Hail the size of baseballs fell from the sky, crushing anything left in the open. More than what is ordinarily a month’s worth of cyclones struck in a single day, yet miraculously, only one, in the Oklahoma town of Westwood, proved fatal, killing six victims who lived in and around a mobile-trailer park.”

Boston Globe “More than 2,100 runners were treated Monday at medical tents along the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon course for dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other ailments as temperatures blasted into the upper 80s, shattering records.”

The State “The shrimping season opens for commercial boats today – and fresh local shrimp in April is practically unheard of. Dolphin fish turned up offshore in March in numbers not usually seen until May.”

Tuscaloosa News “The prize for breaking news coverage focuses on organizations that capture events accurately as they occur, as quickly as possible, and over time, illuminate, provide context and expand upon the initial coverage.”

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