Friday, April 18, 2008
April Weather FX Blog
As I write this, I’m sitting on my front porch enjoying a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining, there is a light breeze and rain is forecast for the start of the weekend. Here in the southeast United States, when people pass the time of day chatting about the weather (as we all seem to the world over) the conversation inevitably turns to the continuing drought and when the next good rainfall is expected.

This month on ‘Weather FX’ we look at drought and how it continues to affect so many parts of the world and the impact little or no rainfall has on our lives. For some of us, it’s a matter of conserving water, but as we know only too well, for others, drought can become a matter of life and death.

To film this month’s show we headed up to Lake Lanier, a reservoir in the northern portion of Georgia, which provides drinking water for several million people. By December last year, the continuing drought in the southeast had reached critical status and water levels in the lake set an all time record low. Water restrictions had been in place for several months by this stage, but thankfully since the beginning of 2008, good winter and early spring rains have made some headway, although the levels are still over four meters below the ideal and it is crucial that we see more rain during the next few months.

But what about life in an arid or semi-arid climate? Across regions such as northern Africa, seasonal rains become your lifeline and if they fail to materialize the results can be devastating. And how do you survive in a desert climate?

Rain we can forecast, but drought? Can it be predicted? And what can be done to recover from severe drought?

These are just some of the questions we hope to answer in this month’s show and just like last month, we will also be answering some of the questions you have emailed to us and showing the best of your iReport pictures and video.

Just one last thing before I sign off – are you good at recycling water? I’m not sure you will go to quite the lengths of some….there is recycling and then there is recycling, as you will find out in our ‘Weather FX Files’ on this month’s show…..I’ll say no more and leave you to watch.

-- From CNN International Weather Anchor, Jenny Harrison

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Stay prepared, informed and involved
As I was driving into work this morning, I noticed that Centennial Park, which is just across the street from CNN center, was finally reopened to the public. The roads through downtown Atlanta still have detours as workers continue to repair damage and broken windows in the high rise buildings. Why do I mention this? Well a little over 3 weeks ago, Atlanta saw its first ever downtown tornado. This was just one tornado in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I write this because it definitely gave me a different perspective when the natural disaster is in your own back yard. The Atlanta downtown commuters have been inconvenienced for three weeks while repairs have been underway. But I can’t help to think how minimal this inconvenience is compared to the magnitude of the other natural disasters I’ve reported on over the last several years and how life as many people know it will never be the same again.

Years later there are many regions in the world that are still recovering from natural devastation, but are hardly talked about anymore: The victims of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake during a bitterly cold winter, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh, the Gulf Coast of the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina, and the many coastal towns and cities around the Andaman Sea affected by the tsunami. This of course is just a small handful of the many that have taken place over the last several years.

World food prices are on the rise which is making it increasingly difficult to bring relief not only to new areas in need, but also to the communities that are on the long road to recovery. As members of the world community, let’s continue to stay prepared, informed and involved.

-- From Kevin Corriveau, CNN Senior Weather Producer/Anchor

Click here to send your weather iReports or e-mail us at
The CNNI Weather Team is on call every hour of every day to make sure viewers have the weather information they need. Weather FX goes beyond the average weather segment for an in-depth look at what causes weather phenomena around the world. From hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons to devastating droughts and sandstorms, weather affects all of our lives. Weather FX is an exchange of ideas involving the viewer through iReports and Q&As with viewers. Join the CNN Weather Team as they show you how the world is connected by the effects of weather.
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