Florida Prepares for ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Dorian to Make Landfall
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for every county in the state Thursday as it prepares for what could be the strongest hurricane to hit its East Coast since Andrew in 1992, CNN reported.
Dorian, currently a Category 2 hurricane, is forecast to make landfall on Florida's East Coast as a Category 4 storm Labor Day with winds of around 130 miles per hour. However, it is not clear exactly where on the coast the storm will make landfall: It could be anywhere between the Florida Keys and southeast Georgia.
"Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend," the National Hurricane Center warned on Friday.
Here are the 5 AM AST/EDT August 30 Key Messages for Hurricane #Dorian. A prolonged period of hazardous weather conditions that could last for a couple of days is possible across parts of Florida early next week. Visit https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB for more info. pic.twitter.com/5n4nGwYNfB— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 30, 2019
There were concerns earlier in the week that Dorian would wreak havoc on Puerto Rico, still recovering from Hurricane Maria nearly two years ago. But the storm brushed past the island Wednesday causing minimal damage, HuffPost reported. Dorian instead battered St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where winds of around 110 miles per hour blew the roofs off of houses.
However, what was good news for Puerto Rico could spell trouble for Florida. Because the storm was not weakened passing over the mountains of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it is now in a position to intensify, CBS News explained. One reason it is likely to do so is that it will pass over water 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on its way to Florida, and water warmer than 80 degrees tends to strengthen storms.
UPDATE: NOAA’s #GOES16 shows #HurricaneDorian pushing away from #PuertoRico and the #VI into the open Atlantic this afternoon. The red circle indicates the center of circulation of #Dorian. Get more from @NHC_Atlantic. pic.twitter.com/hvKZz7kL3g— NOAA Satellites PA (@NOAASatellitePA) August 29, 2019
The storm is now predicted to blow over the Bahamas Sunday and then make landfall in Florida Monday, The New York Times reported. But Florida could begin feeling winds of at least 39 miles per hour by Saturday night. The storm is predicted to dump four to eight inches of rain on the Sunshine State. Forecasters are also worried about the potential for flooding caused by storm surges.
"All Floridians really need to monitor Hurricane Dorian," DeSantis said Thursday morning, as The New York Times reported. He advised residents to store up seven days' worth of food and medical supplies.
Floridians appeared to take him at his word. In a Facebook post Wednesday, Brooke Koontz shared photos of empty shelves at a Walmart in Port Orange, Florida, as CNN reported. She said that at one point employees brought out a pallet of water bottles.
"It was gone in seconds," she told CNN. "People were trying to race."
"It's very important for me to be here," he told reporters Thursday. "[It] looks like it could be a very, very big one. I have decided to send our vice-president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place."
If forecasts are correct and Dorian hits Florida, it will be the fourth year in a row that a hurricane has hit the state, the most consecutive hurricane years since the 1940s, CNN reported. Last year's Hurricane Michael was the strongest to ever hit the Florida panhandle, and meteorologist Eric Holthaus noted that the state has never before faced two such strong landfalls two years in a row.
"We are in a climate emergency," he tweeted.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.