Tornado damage in Mayfield, Kentucky
The series of tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and the Southeast United States this weekend adds to another stretch of deadly and potentially unprecedented weather disasters this year, exacerbating the already growing economic toll brought by climate disasters across the country.
And in the wake of this deadly night of extreme weather, which meteorologists and climate scientists say is historic, questions of whether climate change is intensifying tornadoes are beginning to emerge.
In Kentucky, the series of tornadoes uprooted trees, tore down homes and infrastructure, and killed at least 70 people. Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news conference that the tornado event reached a “level of devastation unlike anything I have ever seen,” he said.
But unlike other extreme weather events such as drought, floods and hurricanes, scientific research about the connection between the climate crisis and tornadoes has not been as robust, making the link especially challenging.
Victor Gensini, a professor at Northern Illinois University and one of the top tornado experts, said last night’s outbreak is one of the most remarkable tornado events in US history — and while climate change may have played a part in its violent behavior, it’s not yet clear what that role was.
“When you start putting a lot of these events together, and you start looking at them in the aggregate sense, the statistics are pretty clear that not only has there sort of been a change — a shift, if you will — of where the greatest tornado frequency is happening,” Gensini told CNN. “But these events are becoming perhaps stronger, more frequent and also more variable.”
The easy answer is “time will tell”. The problem with that is the answer is measured in the accumulation of more deadly incidents, more deaths, more destruction. I’d rather our nation reacted too early than sitting around making every pundit happy.
Lina Wertmüller, a central figure of Italian cinema and the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in the best director category, died this week, Italy’s Ministry of Culture confirmed…She was 93…
Wertmüller made films that were both debased and staunch in their moral standing, condemned and adored, with pitch-black endings preceded by comedic beats.
“I think I have two souls,” Wertmüller told Criterion in 2017 ahead of a retrospective of her films. “One is playful, ironic, with a sense of humor. The other is in contact with the dramatic face of life and human problems around the world. The two natures live in me and never abandon me. My films might reflect this personality unconsciously.”
Her films were divisive, but she found an international audience: She was the first woman to be nominated for a best director Oscar for her film “Seven Beauties.”
RogerEbert.com’s Charles Bramesco said her films, political commentary disguised as sex farces (with an emphasis on the sex), “titillated and scandalized audiences.”
Wertmüller told Bramesco in 2017 that “there’s no doubt that sensuality and eroticism are part of Italian cinema.” But she used sexuality as a lens through which to explore class dynamics and gender politics.
There will be retrospectives…no doubt. Try to watch as many of her films as you may have missed. I think many of Italy’s best actors and actresses of that period waited in line to capture a part in one or another of her films. At least those who I really loved.