Friday, July 27, 2012

The U.S. literally buckles under the heat as roads melt and rails bend in extreme weather

America's infrastructure just can't take the heat.

So far this year, the concrete, steel, and engineering that holds the country together has been tested by extreme weather of all kinds - and it has barely passed.

A jet bound for Charleston, SC, got stuck in the tarmac as it melted under 100-degree weather, while roads in Texas needed emergency repairs to fix the 'horrendous' cracks that were caused by the temperatures. A subway in D.C. even derailed after the tracks got too hot to ride.

As the roads, rails and planes are mangled by the weather, the farms that are suffering under the drought will bring their own punishment next year, when experts are forecasting a sharp increase in food prices.

Tom Sclullion, a senior research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University told the New York Times that the highways are in dire straights.

The heat and drought cause the clay-rich soils under roadbeds to 'shrink like crazy' and lead to 'horrendous cracking.'

Most of the roads in the Northeastern and Midwestern states were not designed for this sort of wear and tear, and the cracking highways are creating numerous and dangerous speed bumps. Read More