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Hurricane Irma. Image: NASA/NOAA GOES Project/William Straka III
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30, is about to bring a higher-than-average storm formation, just like last year, according to the NOAA. The agency predicted “above normal” hurricane activity, with a 70% probability of 13 to 20 named storms. Six to ten of those will become hurricanes, and up to five could strengthen into major hurricanes.
Why This Matters: Evidence show that stronger, wetter storms are becoming more frequent, and climate change is driving this change. Researchers’ models have also shown that hurricanes during the past decade flooded coastal areas with 10% more rainfall due to climate change — and that number could rise to 30% before the end of the century.
As climate change warms the oceans and hurricanes gain power and frequency, storm-addled communities and the government have to adjust to the new normal. This will entail better preparedness and recovery programs in storm-prone communities as well as a reassessment of where it’s safe to build and where it’s not.
“As climate change threatens to bring more extreme events like increased floods, sea level rise, and intensifying droughts and wildfires, it is our responsibility to better prepare and support communities, families, and businesses before disaster — not just after,” the administration said in a statement. “This includes investing in climate research to improve our understanding of these extreme weather events and our decision making on climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. It also means ensuring that communities have the resources they need to build resilience prior to these crises.” According to the White House, the $1 billion will be allocated for communities, states, and Tribal governments into pre-disaster mitigation resources to prepare for extreme weather events and other disasters, and the Administration is also announcing the development of next generation climate data systems at NASA to help understand and track how climate change is impacting communities.
Mega-storms caused by atmospheric rivers were once thought to be once-in-a-millennia occurrences, but atmospheric rivers are flooding California more frequently due to the warming atmosphere. The latest mega-storm may put a dent in the mega-drought, but experts say California may be trapped in a vicious wet/dry cycle. It may not be time for Californians to build an ark just yet, but climate-resilient infrastructure would […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer After a record-breaking drought, much of the West and Southwest has been hoping for a winter of rain. But with scientists predicting a second consecutive winter with La Niña conditions, the dry spell may be prolonged. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to produce droughts in the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As California’s summer fire season comes to a close, autumn’s Santa Ana winds have intensified a fast-moving wildfire now terrorizing Santa Barbara County. The Alisal fire began Monday afternoon. Since then, it has engulfed 16,801 acres and is only 5% contained, according to CalFire. As a result, a portion […]
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