All of the hurricane forecasts each year concentrate on the number of storms: how many there will be in total, how many of those might become full blown hurricanes and of those how many Category 3 or higher (Major) hurricanes might show up. There’s also some guidance on the chances of landfall, but that’s mostly a statistical guess -- the more hurricanes you have, the better the chances that one will hit the United States mainland. More traffic equals more accidents.
Climate Central, one of my favorite go-to sites, considers a warmer world and just what that means to the tropical season. For starters, a warmer world means more water vapor in the atmosphere which translates to more rainfall (witness Imelda’s 40″ last year and Harvey’s 60″ in 2017).
Not only does a warmer atmosphere bring more rainfall, but the fuel for hurricanes -- the warm water -- creates stronger storms. It is the intensity of those storms that creates the storm surge which can be devastating to the coast.
And, for us, a huge concern is how quickly storms are ramping up these days. Harvey was a mere storm on a Wednesday morning and then a 130-m.p.h. Category 4 by Friday evening. Rockport caught the brunt of the winds. This rapid intensification provides little time for evacuation and had Harvey been off the coast of Galveston, where the population is much denser than Rockport, we may have seen a shocking number of casualties.
What’s the point of all this? What can we do? We have to take even the most minor storms seriously, like Cristobal out there right now, because what might not look like a huge threat off in the distance can become one very quickly. Here is the link to the full article from Climate Central.
Our 2020 Hurricane Special is on KPRC 2 tonight (Wednesday) at 7!