The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
After Harvey Comes 'Life Threatening' Hurricane Irma
By Andy Rowell
After Superstorm Harvey comes Hurricane Irma, which surged into a dangerous Category Four storm Monday, with winds of up to 150 miles an hour.
The strengthening storm prompted emergency declarations in Florida and Puerto Rico.
Although there is still huge uncertainty of the Hurricane's path, the National Hurricane Center has now said there is an "increasing chance" that Florida and the Florida Keys will see "some impacts from" Irma later this week.
Before that, the Caribbean will feel Irma's full force, with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands expected to be in Irma's firing line, before it passes over Cuba and the Bahamas and finally making landfall in Florida. It may then swing up the East Coast.
Monday, Florida Governor, Rick Scott, declared a state of emergency for every county in the state, warning that Irma was "life threatening." Florida must be prepared, he said. The State of Emergency was to ensure that local governments had enough "time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm."
He added: "In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared."
As residents of Florida stock up on essentials, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are forecast to see deteriorating conditions throughout today.
Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said: "We're looking at Irma as a very significant event. I can't recall a tropical cone developing that rapidly into a major hurricane prior to arriving in the central Caribbean."
The director of Puerto Rico's power company, Ricardo Ramos, predicted that Irma could leave some on the island without power for up to six months. Late Monday, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.
A category four hurricane is the same strength as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Texas last month. Officials are warning that the storm could deposit as much as 25cm of rain, and generate waves of up to 7 meters.
But Irma could end up being worse than Harvey, although there is huge uncertainty surrounding this.
It is predicted that Irma will strengthen, potentially into a Category 5 Hurricane, as she passes over warmer waters, just as Harvey did. According to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. "Over the coming days, it's going to get into that warmer water. That's going to help the storm intensify."
Unseasonably warm waters seem to be making for a damaging Hurricane season this year. As Grist noted "All signs point to a busy hurricane season, which extends until late November. Irma follows Gert and Harvey to become the ninth named storm in the Atlantic this year—a milestone we don't typically reach until Sept. 30."
The window to talk and educate people about climate change will shrink over time. Akshat Rathi adds on the Quartz website: "In the years after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the proportion of Americans concerned about climate change rose, then slumped again … The more Americans see global warming as a direct threat, the better the chances for the whole world of doing something about it."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.