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Currently in Portland — January 19th, 2022

Currently Portland
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The weather, currently.
Wet Winter Weather Continues Before a Big Reprieve This Weekend
Wet Winter Weather Continues Before a Big Reprieve This Weekend
How do you spell ‘rain’? P-o-r-t-l-a-n-d? That’s certainly what it feels like. And the word on the forecast is that our quintessentially damp and chilly winter weather will continue through midweek. Expect rounds of on-and-off light rain throughout the day tomorrow as our next frontal boundary rolls. Then, as a surge of tropical-style moisture builds in, the rain will turn heavier at times tomorrow night and persist into much of the day on Thursday. That said, this weekend, we’ll finally get to dry out the rain gear with sunny skies and highs near 50 degrees both days! — Lauren Casey
What you need to know, currently.
Eric Holthaus
For our @TwitterSpaces Tuesday, we've confirmed @JoLatuSanft and Joseph Sikulu of @350Pacific, both Tongan climate communicators — plus @kathykijiner, poet and climate envoy from the Marshall Islands. @lagipoiva will co-host!

Join us!
https://t.co/OSiH55skuu https://t.co/K4Iv7v8PGZ https://t.co/cJzgw6PYlj
A tremendous volcanic eruption in the South Pacific nation of Tonga was one of the most powerful eruptions on Earth for several decades, over the weekend.
According to officials in Tonga, several people are still missing and there is one reported casualty so far. The eruption triggered a tsunami that traveled across the Pacific, but details are still hard to come by.
The eruption was so strong that the pressure wave — a sudden surge of atmospheric pressure created by the initial explosion — is still circling the Earth days later at the speed of sound. In fact, by one measure, the volcano’s explosion created what may have been the loudest sound ever measured in history. Audible as a low rumble across Alaska and the Yukon, nearly 6,000 miles away. As of Monday afternoon, the pressure wave has now circled the Earth twice, comparable to the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.
The Science behind the explosion:
The exceptional explosiveness of this eruption was due in part to what’s called a caldera collapse event that entirely wiped the island off the map. The volcano itself was in shallow water, which was flash-boiled into steam, making the eruption even more powerful, generating enormously dense lightning, and lifting ash and sulfur dioxide well into the stratosphere.
The tsunami was also far from typical— it was created not from an earthquake (like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) but from the vaporization of the volcano itself, displacing water in all directions. Damage from the weekend’s tsunami was felt as far away as Peru and California, and was detectable as far away as the Caribbean, after passing south of South America and northward through the Atlantic.
The pressure wave could continue to circle the Earth for several more days. At this point, it is more of scientific curiosity and is no longer audible to human ears — moreso it is proof that the Earth’s atmosphere is a fluid. At the antipode of Tonga (the opposite side of the planet) in northern Africa, the wave bounced off itself.
Volcanologists think the volcano could remain active for months or even years, but so far it has not put enough sulfur dioxide into the Earth’s upper atmosphere to induce prolonged climate effects. In the past, major eruptions have cooled the planet by about 0.25°C for a year or two — that’s not likely to happen this time.
As climatologist Brian Brettschneider wrote this weekend, “We can not depend on volcanic eruptions to cool the planet and save us from ourselves.”
The Tonga eruption explained, from tsunami warnings to sonic booms
As communication is restored to Tonga, the Pacific diaspora has sprung into action. Tongan Olympic athlete Pita Taufatofua is coordinating a GoFundMe to help rebuild schools and hospitals. So far, they’ve raised nearly $300,000 out of a goal of $1,000,000. They could use more donations.
By channeling the positivity of the Pacific spirit, the Pacific Climate Warriors have been working for years to transform the narrative of the Pacific islands and the people who call them home away from victimhood and vulnerability and toward strength and solidarity. Their theme “we are not drowning, we are fighting” will also help drive these next weeks and months of recovery and rebuilding in Tonga.
On Tuesday at 10pm ET / 7pm PT / 4pm Wednesday in Tonga Currently is co-hosting a live Twitter Spaces conversation with Pacific Environment Weekly about solidarity with the Pacific in the middle of the climate emergency. We’ll have Pacific journalists and diaspora climate activists and will focus our conversation on how we can all help to build a better world together.
That's it! Be sure to follow Currently on Twitter:
Currently
Currently weather alert: Unusually cold weather is expected across the Northeast on Tue & Wed. This will be the coldest air in ~2yrs.

Prepare today: Leave a faucet running at a drip to prevent water lines from freezing. Know where your main water shutoff valve is, just in case.
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