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Hurricanes

HURRICANES

While climate change does not necessarily increase the number of hurricanes, it does appear to make them more intense and destructiveOcean warming increases hurricane wind speed and precipitation, and sea level rise intensifies storm surge impacts and damages. They are, perhaps, the world’s costliest natural weather disasters.

Communities also face potential flood disasters: Hurricane Harvey dumped over 60 inches of rain on parts of Houston in 2017 and resulted in at least 93 deaths; Hurricane Florence in North Carolina set at least 28 flood records in 2018;  Hurricane Dorian was on track to move through the Bahamas and toward Florida, but stalled, causing massive flooding and destruction in 2019. 2020 became the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record. Of the 30 named storms, 14 developed into hurricanes, 417 people died and over $51 billion in damages was created.  2021 was the third-most active Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Ida became the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclone of that season, killing 107 people, causing catastrophic flooding and contributing 93% of the total damage in 2021. In 2022, became the season’s first major hurricane on September 20, devastating Puerto Rico and The Cayman Islands before moving up to strike Canada with 115-mile-an-hour winds. Hurricane Ian is currently threatening Florida.

A collection of helpful infographics and videos on hurricanes is posted at Climate Nexus. Climate Central has created stunning resources to help you understand the links between climate change and hurricanes. Their extreme weather toolkits on Tropical Cyclones and Heavy Rain and Flooding (available in English and Spanish) provide quick facts and reporting resources including experts available for interviews. And their Hurricane Intensity and Impacts report covers the historical trends and high impacts of rapidly intensifying hurricanes like Ian, and lists experts available for interviews.  

Please refer to hurricane advisories from the National Hurricane Center and follow your local National Weather Service Forecast Office for updates.

CREDIT: NOAA

CURRENT NEWS

The Hurricane Bookies

By Jeva Lange 04/18/24
Are you feeling lucky? Americans are. Close to two-thirds say they’ve gambled in the past year; the sports pages are filled with headlines detailing the fallout of various investigations and scandals. But while there isn’t…
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‘Alarming’ Ocean Temperatures Suggest This Hurricane Season Will Be a Daunting One

By Judson Jones 04/09/24
A key area of the Atlantic Ocean where hurricanes form is already abnormally warm, much warmer than an ideal swimming pool temperature of about 80 degrees and on the cusp of feeling more like warm…
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An ‘extremely active’ hurricane season is headed our way, experts warn

By Scott Dance 04/04/24
An “extremely active” Atlantic hurricane season is likely this year, a key preseason forecast warns, with chances for long-lived and intense storms fueled by record ocean warmth and atmospheric patterns known for boosting tropical cyclones.
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Battered by hurricanes and tired of rebuilding, 90% of population has left this coastal town

By Nidhi Sharma and Lauren Wilson 03/19/24
Seven days a week, Tressie LaBove Smith makes the two-hour round trip from Lake Charles to what’s left of her Cajun restaurant in Cameron, Louisiana, an unincorporated town perched along the stormy Gulf Coast. Business…
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Is The Current Hurricane Warning System Outdated?

By Bob Berwyn 02/05/24
As Typhoon Haiyan howled into the Philippines in November 2013, people knew that a powerful storm was coming, but they were not expecting a typhoon with 196 mile per hour winds, driving a storm surge…
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Some experts are proposing a Category 6 storm rating

By Seth Borenstein 02/05/24
A handful of super powerful tropical storms in the last decade and the prospect of more to come has a couple of experts proposing a new category of whopper hurricanes: Category 6.
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Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a Category 6

By Scott Dance 02/05/24
When meteorologists began using the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale to measure hurricane intensity in the 1970s, a Category 5 storm represented oblivion. Such a cyclone, with sustained winds of at least 157 mph, could flatten any…
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Hurricane maps predicting the ‘cone of uncertainty’ will change this year. Here’s why.

By Anthony Frazen 02/02/24
We are still about four months from the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season on June 1, but it’s never too early to start prepping for what’s to come in 2024, especially if you…
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‘A Beautiful Place That Has a Dragon’: Where Hurricane Risk Meets Booming Growth

By Aatish Bhatia 11/19/23
The hurricanes keep coming, and the people, too: The fastest-growing places along the Atlantic coast this century are also among the most hurricane-prone. Between 2016 and 2022, the five hurricanes that hit the Carolinas cost…
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Hurricane Otis intensified more drastically than all but one other eastern Pacific storm

By David Wallace-Wells 11/01/23
As of last Monday night in Acapulco, Mexico, no formal hurricane warning had been issued for what would become, barely a day later, the first Category 5 storm ever to make landfall on the Pacific…
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How hot seas may have fueled Hurricane Otis’s sudden intensification

By Scott Dance 10/26/23
Off-the-charts warmth in the world’s oceans, so widespread and so far beyond anything ever observed, has stunned climate scientists and meteorologists for months. It set the stage for deadly floods and put Earth on track…
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Forecasters were caught off guard by Otis’ growth. But warming means more hurricanes like it

By Seth Borenstein 10/26/23
Hurricane Otis turned from mild to monster in record time, and scientists are struggling to figure out how — and why they didn’t see it coming. Usually reliable computer models and the forecasters who use…
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KEY RESOURCES

Observed increases in North Atlantic tropical cyclone peak intensification rates

10/19/23
Quickly intensifying tropical cyclones (TCs) are exceptionally hazardous for Atlantic coastlines. An analysis of observed maximum changes in wind speed for Atlantic TCs from 1971 to 2020 indicates that TC intensification rates have already changed…

How has climate change already worsened hurricanes?

08/21/23
In almost every region of the world where hurricanes form, their maximum sustained winds are getting stronger due to human-caused climate change.[12]

How to prepare your family, home and pets for a hurricane

08/11/23
Powerful hurricanes fueled by climate change have increased in frequency and intensity, causing billions of dollars in damage every year.

What are hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones?

05/17/23
Hurricanes combine unyielding winds and torrential rain to create some of Earth’s most powerful storms. When hurricanes near land, wind can cause devastating damage, even spawning tornadoes. But the bigger danger is rain, which can…

Amid the Devastation of Hurricane Ian, a New Study Charts Alarming Flood Risks for U.S. Hospitals

10/03/22
It was a scene that played out in cities and towns along the path of Hurricane Ian as it roared ashore last week: nurses, physicians and other medical personnel working feverishly to evacuate hospitals that…

Recent Years Are A Reminder Of How October Hurricanes Can Threaten US

10/03/22
H​urricane season quickly flipped a switch in recent weeks from one of the quietest starts in decades to a pair of devastating storms: Ian and Fiona. Now, we are heading through the final two months…

Asbestos and Natural Disasters Guide

10/02/22
Natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes can damage asbestos-containing materials and lead to asbestos exposure among first responders, cleanup crews and nearby residents. Learn how to prevent asbestos exposure when preparing for…

A Force of Nature: Hurricanes in a Changing Climate

06/01/22
From June 1 to November 30, many Americans turn their eyes to the tropics — not just because they’re dreaming of beach vacations, but because it’s hurricane season. Called by many names depending on where…

Science Empowering Communities In The Face Of Flooding

10/06/20
Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

Hurricanes

05/01/20
Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful storms. They produce strong winds, storm surge flooding, and heavy rainfall that can lead to inland flooding, tornadoes, and rip currents.

Climate and Hurricanes Primer

08/31/19
Taking advantage of a teachable moment  share these vids with anyone that might want to get up to speed on what we know about canes and climate. Above, 2015 interview with Kerry Emanuel and…

National Hurricane Center

09/11/19
Find here analyses, data & tools, educational resources, and more.

MORE NEWS

South Carolina Still Grappling with Historic Flooding from Florence, a Storm Worsened by Climate Change

By Julie Dermansky   10/01/18  
An amazing visual tour through the flooding in South Carolina. One citizen's perspective when Trump came to tour: "Consoling communities by ignoring the impacts of climate change ensures these complex issues will never be resolved.…
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How Global Warming Is Turbocharging Monster Storms Like Hurricane Florence

By Fred Guterl, Nina Godlewski and ML Nestel   09/25/18  
What is Mother Nature trying to tell us? Probably the same thing climate scientists have been saying for years: that emissions of greenhouse ­gases, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, will cause an increase…
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Florence’s Floodwaters Breach Coal Ash Pond and Imperil Other Toxic Sites

By Kendra Pierre-Louis, Nadja Popovich and Hiroko Tabuchi   09/24/18  
Surging floodwaters from Florence and its torrential rains, which experts link at least in part to climate change, have released coal ash – a byproduct of coal burning that contains mercury, arsenic and other toxic…
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Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Florence’s Wind and Rain

By Dan Gearino   09/20/18  
In North Carolina, the #2 solar state, Hurricane Florence was the first extreme weather test for much of its renewable energy. Faced with its powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina's solar farms held up…
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In North Carolina, losses of nearly 2 million birds and 26 flooded lagoons reported

By H. Claire Brown   09/18/18  
By Tuesday afternoon, the remains of Hurricane Florence had migrated up to New England, tapering off as the clouds prepared to drift from the East Coast into the Atlantic. Meanwhile, as the rain slowed to…
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Climate Change Supercharges Hurricane Florence as 1.5 Million Evacuate in Carolinas & Virginia

By Amy Goodman   09/11/18  
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as Hurricane Florence continues to gain strength as it barrels toward the East Coast. The enormous…
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What Puerto Rico Can Teach Us About Surviving Climate Change

By Jane Palmer   03/23/18  
“Maria didn’t cause everything. Maria just revealed to the world how we are living."
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Houston, You Have a Problem

By Peter Sinclair   10/02/19  
Jeff Goodell recounts meeting “The New Joads” – refugees displaced by climate impacts in the Houston area – and elsewhere.
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Hurricane Florence’s Unusual Extremes Worsened by Climate Change

By Bob Berwyn   02/11/19  
Researchers estimate the storm’s rainfall forecast is 50 percent higher because of warmer oceans and more moisture in the atmosphere brought by global warming.
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Climate Change Drives Bigger, Wetter Storms — Storms Like Florence

By Rebecca Hersher   09/11/18  
Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities. But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats…
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