The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Hurricane Florence: Carolinas to See 50% More Rain Due to Climate Change
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.
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"The idea we can't attribute individual events to climate change is out of date, it's just no longer true," study author and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist Michael Wehner.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
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.