A few weeks ago, hurricane Harvey took Texas by storm (literally) leaving vast destruction in its wake. With rainfall reaching 50 inches in some areas, the damage from Harvey has been catastrophic to Houston and surrounding cities. The hurricane displaced over 1 million people, destroyed some 200,000 homes, and killed an estimated 50 people. Fortune magazine estimates that damages caused by the hurricane could cost up to $180 billion,becoming the most expensive natural disaster in US history
Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of disasters this year. Hurricane Irma has hit Puerto Rico and is quickly approaching the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Florida. Irma is the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic with winds up to 185 miles per hour, surpassing the maximum category 5 classification. On Thursday morning, Irma hit the tropical island of Barbuda completely devastating it. The Prime minister of Barbuda states “Barbuda right now is literally a rubble,” and the minister of foreign affairs and international trade estimates that over 90% of the island has suffered damage from the storm. Several other small islands in the caribbean, including French islands St. Martin and St.Barthélemy, have already suffered considerable damage. French authorities have reported the death toll was at least two. In Puerto Rico, water levels are quickly rising and people have been advised to take shelter as soon as possible. With the country in economic shambles, rebuilding after Irma is near impossible. Haiti is still recovering from hurricane Matthew which killed over 1,000 people last october; the impoverished country does not have the resources to help shelter their people during a disaster of this magnitude much less to reconstruct the after the fact.
To top it all off, there are two more hurricanes forming as we speak, hurricane Katia and hurricane Jose. Katia has formed in the Gulf off of the coat of Mexico and has winds of 75 mph but is expected to strengthen over the next few days. The Mexican government has issued a hurricane watch for the coast of the state of Veracruz; Katia is expected to drift towards Mexico on Thursday. Hurricane Jose is currently tailing irma, although it has 75 mph wind it poses no immediate threat to land but meteorologists warn that the storm’s path could change.
There is no denying that these catastrophes are tied to climate change. Although, it is currently hurricane season these storms have surpassed those of any other season. For years, scientists have been warning that climate change had the potential to worsen natural disasters and now the time has come. Hurricanes are caused by warm ocean waters and the oceans are warming at an alarming rate because of the greenhouse effect; Our actions are giving hurricanes the potential to be even more deadly than usual. Bobcats, be sure to give to those affected and donate to relief funds. Below are a few for your consideration.
Charities to donate to:
Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Marcus Fox, Indiana Madden