Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Hurricane Florence: Carolinas to See 50% More Rain Due to Climate Change

Climate
A flooded house in New Bern, North Carolina Thursday as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence began to douse the state. Atilgan Ozdil / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Hurricane Florence, which the first pre-storm study of its kind shows will be more than 50 percent wetter due to climate change, began to soak North Carolina Thursday night into Friday morning, The Washington Post reported.


While the hurricane was downgraded to a category 1 storm, as of 5:16 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) it had already collapsed roofs and damaged structures in Morehead City and New Bern, North Carolina and unleashed flooding that stranded more than 100 in New Bern.

Warnings are focused on rainfall and storm surge, which the National Hurricane Center said could be "life threatening."

"It cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland through the weekend," a 5:00 a.m. ET National Hurricane Center update said.

And scientists can now confidently say ahead of time that 50 percent of that rain can be attributed to climate change.

A study by researchers at Stony Brook University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the storm will be 50 miles larger in diameter than it would have been without climate change and deliver about 50 percent more rain, The Guardian reported.

Scientists were able to figure out last year that chances of Hurricane Harvey's devastating rainfall were tripled due to global warming, but that study took place after the storm had passed.

This is the first study to attribute a storm's characteristics to climate change before it struck.

"The idea we can't attribute individual events to climate change is out of date, it's just no longer true," study author and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist Michael Wehner. "We've reached the point where we can say this confidently."

What exactly that climate-increased rainfall will mean for the states in Florence's path will be revealed in full over the weekend.

The storm is expected to make landfall Friday morning near Wilmington, North Carolina, according to a 6 a.m. ET update from The Washington Post.

There are currently up to 321,692 houses without power, and high water levels are expected to increase as the tide comes in, the same update said.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for Wilmington, Washington, Riverbend and Vanceboro North Carolina.

Flooding, storm surges and heavy winds are expected to persist through Saturday, CNN reported.

The most dramatic impact so far has been in New Bern, North Carolina where more than 100 rescues were in progress after water levels rose 10 feet, Mayor Dana Outlaw said, according to CNN.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU," The City of New Bern tweeted early Friday morning.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less