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Keeping Our Eyes on the Skies

Meteorologists project more hurricanes and tropical storms in this very active hurricane season

Anthony Awgul, Staff Writer

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Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and caused massive economic damage. The death toll currently sits at 82 people.

 

Then, Hurricane Irma made impact destroying Florida and the Caribbean. The death toll currently sits at 70 people.

 

After a catastrophic earthquake shook Mexico last week, Category 1 Hurricane Katia battered the east coast as authorities tried to rescue through the rummage. Between the hurricane and the earthquake, the death toll sits at 61 people.

 

Several devastating hurricanes in one season is terrible and far above average. But the scary thing is; the oceans are not finished brewing up more tropical storms and hurricanes for this season. In May, CNN reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts a 45% chance for an above-normal season, predicting that there is a 70% chance of having 11 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine could develop into hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes (Categories 3-5). We are clearly seeing this projection play into this season as there have already been 12 tropical systems that have been named this year; several of which made impact to the United States and caused detrimental damage. The season is far from over, and the potential for more tropical storms and hurricanes continues to rise. It is important that we continue to monitor our current atmospheric and oceanic conditions in case another storm takes a turn directly into the United States this year.

 

Hurricane Jose poses the next threat to the east coast as a Category 1 hurricane. Despite projections showing that this storm will most likely not cause landfall, strong storms with heavy rain and wind will still strike the east coast as Jose travels northeast. In addition, heavy swells and rip currents will be associated.

 

Just yesterday; Tropical Storm Lee has formed far southwest of the Cabo Verde islands. Fortunately, this storm projects weakening in the near future and poses no threat the the United States.

 

Moving west at 22mph is “Potential Tropical Cyclone 15;” which is projected to strengthen into Hurricane Maria. This storm threatens many of the same areas, like the Virgin Islands, which Irma just smashed through. It’s path is still questionable; but there is a very real threat that it may again impact the gulf states or south Florida which just endured Harvey and Irma.

 

Just today, The Weather Channel issued a statement that Hurricane Norma is traveling north towards Baja, California. While it is expected to only be a strong tropical storm, heavy winds and rains will still impact many.

 

Looking at all of this ocean and atmosphere activity, many wonder what is causing this above average hurricane season? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration links all of this increased activity to the warming of our oceans. The warming waters of our oceans give tropical storms more potential to form and strengthen. In an interview with environmentalist Paul Hawken, he claimed, “The atmosphere does not fathom whether C02 comes from U.S. soil or Chinese coal, nor do hurricanes lose force because the Heritage Foundation doesn’t believe global warming is the problem.” 

Living systems operate on laws over which we have no say,” said Hawkens. 

What Hawkens was trying to tell us is that whether you accept climate change or not; hurricanes are still forming more numerously and stronger than ever before. He believes that climate change is a symptom of global warming. And with it- an increase in tropical storms and hurricanes. 

We need to figure out why we are experiencing more hurricanes than ever before and work to solve the problem as soon as possible. Hurricanes did not form this often and to this size 20 or 30 years ago, and a hurricane that impacted the Northeast coast was unheard of! Our atmosphere is clearly changing, and in the meantime, we need to get ready and prepare in case one of these catastrophic storms takes a turn for the worst again.

 

 

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Keeping Our Eyes on the Skies