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Irma’s Strength Indication of Climate Change Scientists Say

September 5th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

As Irma approaches, Governor Rick Scott has requested and received a pre-landfall emergency declaration from President Trump.

Scientists believe such declarations will be more common in the future.

If Irma makes landfall in florida it will be the first time two category four, or greater, hurricanes directly hit US soil in one season.

Experts say a changing climate is to blame.

If trends continue these powerful storms will become more and more common.

James Elsner, chair of the Department of Geography at Florida State says warming oceans have created a fertile environment for hurricanes to grow into category five behemoths like Irma.

 

“They’ve hit our coast in the past before climate change, but in the future it’s more likely for them to be stronger, especially the strongest ones,” said Elsner.

Damage to Florida’s highly developed coastal regions could be astronomical, totaling billions of dollars.

High-rises in cities like Tampa and Miami will be subject to winds of even higher speeds than felt on ground level.

 

“Even if the eye doesn’t hit the coastline, it’s still a mighty big storm and those winds will cause a lot of harm,” said Mark Bourassa, Professor of Meteorology at FSU.

 

Officials are urging Floridians all over the state to prepare for the worst, as the path of the storm is still unclear.

 

“Taking steps to protect the windows the doors and especially the garage door are going to pay big dividends after,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

Governor Scott has already activated 100 national guard members to help with with Hurricane Irma preparedness.

By Friday that number will grow to 7,000.

Florida has 17 billion dollars in the State Catastrophe Fund to help cover initial hurricane losses, but given the damage Harvey caused in Texas, the money could quickly dissipate, especially in multi storm events.

To learn more about how to properly prepare your home for the storm go to FLASH.org.

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