Hurricane Havoc

Oct

11
2017

Jodde
Blog
0


The hurricane season has so far been nothing short of horrific.  Hundreds of people have lost their lives in Peurto Rico after getting hit by two powerful storms, Irma and Maria.  Maria: that alone is far from the range of normal.  Hurricane season has barely started.  Hurricane season starts on June 30 to November 30, which is itself longer than it has been in the past.  While 2005 holds the record for most named storms, there are still almost two months in which hurricanes could potentially form.  Already there have been more storms than in the entire 2016 hurricane season.  In no previous hurricane season have three hurricanes category 4 or higher storms hit the US, (of which Peurto Rico is a part.)  Another record is that there have been three major hurricanes, which is any category 3 or higher hurricane.  Yet another record storm is hurricane Nate, which while far less damaging than the other three storms to hit the US, was the fastest moving storm.  The death toll from this hurricane season so far has been relatively low, but the economic impact has been staggering.  Damages total over $200 billion, and again, this is not yet over.  The low death toll does not mean much, however.  While it is great that relatively few people have lost their lives to these disasters, economic damage combined with meteorological data tell us that these storms are worse than a lot of their more deadly predecessors.  The decline in death tolls is purely a function of better prediction leading to a better chance of governments ordering evacuations when and where they’re needed.

Yet another record storm is hurricane Nate, which while far less damaging than the other three storms to hit the US, was the fastest moving storm.  The death toll from this hurricane season so far has been relatively low, but the economic impact has been staggering.  Damages total over $200 billion from all the hurricanes of 2017, and again, this is not yet over.  Considering the strength of these storms, it may seem miraculous that only just over 300 people have lost their lives, or that earlier deadlier storms were more powerful, economic damage combined with meteorological data tell us that these storms are worse than a lot of their predecessors, many being substantially more energetic and record-tying or breaking.  The decline in death tolls, while definitely a great thing, is mostly a function of better prediction leading to a better chance of governments ordering evacuations when and where they’re needed.

Hurricane Harvey decimated Texas, with major flooding and loss of life.  Harvey brought more rain than any other US hurricane since recordkeeping. It also had the third highest rainfall period.  Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the US in 12 years.  The storm brought massive flooding to Houston and killed 84 people in total, at least 30 there, and all but one in the US.  Interstates and houses were completely submerged, forcing residents to their rooftops.  The National Weather Service tweeted in response to the damage in Houston: “This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced…”

Less than a week later, Irma became a hurricane and a big one at that.  After decimating Barbuda, leaving only about 5% of homes intact, it slammed into Peurto Rico which cut power to a million people.  It continued through the Bahamas, though this was mostly a glancing blow, and hit heavily impacted the Florida Keys.  It tore through Florida and finally dissipated in Georgia.  It was the longest lasting hurricane ever recorded.  It killed at least 132 people.

On the heels of that, of course, was Maria, a category 5 hurricane that obliterated the power grid in Peurto Rico.  It became an entire island with over 3.4 million people left in the dark.  The death toll right now is 79, 34 of those deaths in Peurto Rico.

This has been an absolutely devastating hurricane season, with likely more damage on the way.  It is currently the 8th most intense since 1850.


About

I am the C.O.O of The Global Warming Foundation. I'm passionate about writing and bringing you the latest information about weather that may be linked to global warming.

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