Scientists say global warming is producing stronger hurricanes

Scientists researching the effects of climate change say global warming is producing stronger hurricanes, which could mean emergency response protocols might need to change in the face of future disasters.

Hurricane Michael's rapid escalation from a Cat 2 to Cat 4 storm forced Florida state officials to send out text messages with urgent evacuation orders. 

Hurricane Michaels' ferocity, with winds exceeding 150 miles an hour, beat down buildings along the Florida panhandle. It was an all too familiar sight for those who are still recovering from last month's Hurricane Florence that hit the east coast and numerous other hurricanes that have hit Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Texas and other parts of Florida in the past few years.

The United Nations warned Monday that global warming is accelerating at an alarming pace.

NOAA also issued a report last month on global warming and hurricanes from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. 

It stated "it is likely that greenhouse warming will cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense globally and have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes."

Warmer water can turn smaller storms into more destructive mega storms and and rising sea levels can cause more damage by amplifying the storm surge.

"I worry that as we start to have more of these mega-storms and the frequency, how are we going to handle this if they keep coming back to back like this," says Mark Neveau, a former FEMA emergency responder. 

Neveau says disaster response resources are stretched thin.

"Remember Puerto Rico came on the heels of wildfires and hurricanes in Florida and Texas that were as big as Katrina at the time," said Neveau.

At a White House briefing Wednesday FEMA director Brock Long highlighted the problem, noting Hurricane Michael was dumping rain in the Carolinas just three weeks after Hurricane Florence,

"It's all about the rivers being able to process the water from Florence and some of them haven't had the time to do that. So this doesn't help," said Long.

If larger mega storms become a new norm, governments, emergency responders, and the public will be forced to rethink and revise w to react.

Neveau: "We talk about try to be prepared for 72 hours to be sustaining yourself and your family.  I think you're going to see that grow from 72 hours, three days, to up to a week to being prepared." 

Neveau says that also means re-evaluating building codes and planning.

"We build homes in flood-prone areas, wildland and urban interface areas. They're going to have to take a hard look and that's not something that communities have done in the past," said Neveau.
 

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