The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Florida Prepares for Michael to Make Landfall as Hurricane
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties as the state prepares for Hurricane Michael to make landfall later this week, The Florida Channel reported.
"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said in a briefing reported by CNN. He warned that it would reach the Florida Panhandle potentially as a Category Two storm, with winds of more than 100 miles per hour.
"Everybody's got to get ready. Don't take a chance," he said. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes."
Scott has mobilized 500 troops of the Florida National Guard in advance of the storm.
Michael, which formed near the Yucatan Peninsula Sunday, is first expected to hit Cuba, which has declared a hurricane warning for the province of Pinar del Rio and a tropical storm warning for the province Isle of Youth. There is also a tropical storm warning in effect from Tulum to Cabo Catoche along the Mexican coast.
Western Cuba could see as much as 12 inches of rain in some areas, and between four to eight in others, putting it at risk for mudslides and flooding that the National Hurricane Center said could be "life-threatening."
Michael is currently 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico and moving north. It rapidly intensified between Sunday and Monday mornings, with winds rising from 35 to 70 miles per hour, The Weather Channel said.
Michael is intensifying into a Hurricane partly because of favorable upper-level winds and partly because of above-average surface ocean temperatures along its path. Record temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico linked to climate change were partly responsible for the excess rainfall of last year's Hurricane Harvey.
Rain from Michael is already falling on the Florida Keys, which will receive two to four inches by Tuesday. The storm is expected to make landfall at Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend Wednesday, or potentially Thursday morning, then continue inland across the Southeast. Heavy rainfall could reach parts of the Carolinas that suffered extensive flooding from Hurricane Florence, but Hurricane Michael is not expected to stall, so the flooding risk is not as severe.The storm is disrupting the campaign schedule of Scott, who is running for Florida Senate, CNN reported. Scott was named a "Fossil Fool" ahead of the election by the Sierra Club for denying climate change despite the fact that his state is especially at risk from sea level rise and more extreme storms.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.