Saturday, February 20, 2010
What happens when the temperature drops
These past few weeks have been hard on the east coast of southern USA. Washington received it's biggest snowstorm in 90 years on the weekend of February 5th. It was impressive. How do I know? Well, yours truely and her brave husband drove through it all the way from Virginia Beach to New York. It was scarey, driving at 30 miles an hour on the interstate, creeping past car after car after truck stuck in the ditch on either side of the road. The long moments of total darkness as the only car for miles driving through what may have been a black hole, for all we could see. Flicking on our high beams gave us the impression of jumping into hyperspeed; giant reflective snowflakes speeding towards us and swerving away at the last minute following the expertly engineered airflow around our car (thank you Saturn Ion designers).
The weather may have frustrated many an American but the impact on animal and plant populations is devastating. A recent article published in Discovery News reveals the ever increasing death toll in Florida's everglade marshes. The author reports the alarming death of over 200 manatees. These gentle aquatic cows are already on the endangered species list because of habitat degradation; biologists fear the worst for this species. They do not tolerate cold temperatures and meteorologists do not predict any warming in the near future. Florida is experiencing unusually cold temperatures and the animals there don't have central heating and 24/7 Starbucks to help them get through it.
There is a up side to these bleak conditions; the cold, as well as killing native and protected species, is killing off the tropical invasive species. Apparently, green iguanas are falling out of trees frozen and snakes are turning up frozen stiff like popscicles, this is great for the native flora and fauna ... if they survive that is.
[Picture credits Mojo- 4th Ring Road]