Op-Ed: Hurricane Ian and the coming climate crash
Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is still on track to hit the United States as a full-on super storm with potentially dangerous sustained winds up to 115 mph. And, despite all the predictions of doom, we still have time before it hits. Here’s a sobering look at what this storm could do.
Hurricane Ian is the storm of the season for the Gulf Coast. The storm has already brought unprecedented rainfall over the United States, and has also impacted Haiti’s fragile economy. It’s already caused a death in the Virgin Islands and left at least 21 dead, including two police officers.
But, as the storm makes landfall late this week, we need to remember that this storm will not be the end of this story. In fact, it could be the beginning. Hurricane Harvey is the most deadly hurricane ever to strike the United States and wiped out over half of Houston’s population. However, like Ian, it didn’t make landfall because of its heavy rainfall; instead, it moved farther from the coast, where it weakened to a tropical storm which hit Louisiana. And, like Ian, the storm was only a threat when it hit land.
Today’s Superstorm Season brings with it all the usual threats, from the full-blown mega storm to the catastrophic hurricane that wipes out communities for years to come, sometimes over decades. And even the moderate hurricanes are still dangerous, with the full-blown nor’easter taking down at least 11 people in Canada and the United Kingdom on Boxing Day 2015.
So what will Hurricane Ian be like this time? Experts have a difficult task before them in forecasting the future of this storm as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. But, using the latest analysis from NOAA and USGS, it’s clear that Ian will be significantly stronger than previous storms.
This is partly attributable to its slow moving speed, coupled with its weak storm surge – making it both less intense in the water and less likely to cause major damage to the coast.
But it’s also the result of the storm’s interaction with Hurricane Irma, which is moving directly towards the Louisiana coast. If the two