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Yesterday was the first day of Atlantic hurricane season and NOAA’s outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season. This has left coastal states scrambling to adjust their emergency response plans in the face of COVID-19, namely where to house evacuees.
The Associated Press surveyed more than 70 counties and states from Texas to Virginia, with more than 60% of coastal counties saying as of late May that they’re still solidifying plans for public hurricane shelters. They’re also altering preparations for dealing with the sick and elderly, protective equipment and cleanup costs.
Why This Matters: Hurricanes are costly and difficult to prepare for in normal times but the reality stands that state and city budgets have been devastated. For island nations specifically, the prospect of an active hurricane season could be truly catastrophic.
As Reuters reported, “Across the Caribbean, island nations are now facing the double whammy of a hurricane season forecast to be more active than usual combined with a pandemic that has already drained public coffers and leveled tourism, one of its top earners.”
The Challenge: As former FEMA administration Craig Fugatetold Inside Climate News, the hardest problem in planning for a hurricane during a pandemic could be public confusion over whether to evacuate or stay at home.
Emergency managers in coastal states have been checking to see if companies they once relied on to supply everything from buses to food and water are still in business, or if alternative arrangements need to be made.
The Trump Effect: Another unfortunate impact of Trump’s denial of science is that forecasters at the National Weather Service will have to contend with lingering questions about their ability to operate independently after political interference from the White House during 2019′s Hurricane Dorian.
Another jarring stat: As the Washington Post reported, The Earth is warming and disturbing the balance of the seasons. Data makes it clear that summers are expanding while winters are substantially shortening. This will certainly have an effect on extreme weather conditions.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer As the 2020 hurricane season draws to a close, scientists are reflecting on the devastating records set by this year’s storms. 2020 had the most named storms ever recorded, ten of which were classified as “rapidly intensifying,” a record which occurred only in two other years, 1995 and 2010. […]
The 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season burnt more than 18 million hectares across the country, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and claimed the lives of 34 people and about one billion animals. The devastation was gutwrenching and a wake-up call to the entire world that climate change is our greatest existential threat. Yet as fire crews […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Hurricane Iota, the 30th named storm this year, made landfall in Nicaragua Monday night as a Category 4 storm. As it continues to move across Central America, it could still bring “life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides,” according to the National Hurricane Center. Iota was the […]
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