The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting excessive rainfalls for 2016, suggesting a high probability that rainfall will exceed flash flood guidance in many areas of the country. These excessive rainfall warnings have been increasing in recent years, leaving some people wondering where all the extra rain is coming from. Some researchers are saying that vaping is to blame.
Vaping is defined as the act of inhaling water vapor, usually flavored, through a hand-held vaporizer. This vapor is then exhaled, releasing a cloud of water vapor into the atmosphere. It is touted by many as being a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but it may be having a detrimental effect on weather patterns across the globe.
Researchers recently reported what they believe to be a correlation between recent excessive rainfall events and the sharp increase in the number of people vaping. According to the CDC, the number of people vaping in the United States increased from 9 million people in 2014 to over 87 million in 2015, and will grow to an estimated 732 million by 2017.
“We have data to show a strong connection between the number of people now vaping, and the excessive rainfall this country is experiencing,” researcher Kevin Smith said. “There are an astronomical number of vapor clouds being put into the air due to the number of people choosing vaping over smoking. People think it’s better for the environment because the vapor just disappears–but it doesn’t just disappear. Fine water droplets in the vapor are taken into the atmosphere and eventually form rain clouds.”
The casual or occasional vaper is not the biggest threat in the equation, however. Cloud chasing, otherwise known as extreme vaping, is the act of creating and blowing massive clouds of vapor. There are competitions held nationwide to see who can create the biggest vapor cloud. Some extreme vapers create special explosive devices made with high powered batteries to create these vapor clouds. The extreme vapor clouds that are blown at the average competition can create up to 16 inches of rain in a single day.
Many recent extreme rainfall events have been linked to cloud chasers. A storm in Texas on Monday of this week dropped 10 inches of rain in parts of south Texas. Researchers noted that there were at least 3 cloud blowing competitions in the area over the weekend, which likely contributed to the extreme weather event.
Researchers are trying to spread the word about vaping, but are being met with resistance. “There is a huge pro-vaping movement that doesn’t want any negative press out there about the damage the water vapor is causing,” Smith said. “So we’ve started a grassroots movement to let people know what’s up.”
The grassroots movement is working. Flyers, social media, and word-of-mouth is helping spread the information. Many citizens hearing about the connection between vaping and excessive rainfall are upset.
“Please stop vaping,” concerned citizen Summer Harne begged. “It smells bad, it’s bad for you, and I don’t like it. Other people don’t like it either, they told me. And my dogs hate going potty in the rain, it’s created a huge problem for us. I can’t stand this.”
Summer has a plea for all the vapers who are contributing to the problem. “Stop blowing clouds. Let the weather be natural.”