Tropical Storm Cristobal Brings Flooding and Tornadoes to Gulf Coast
Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in Louisiana Sunday as the earliest third named storm on record in the Atlantic Basin.
The storm brought flooding to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and caused tornadoes in the Sunshine State, The Associated Press reported. While it made landfall well below hurricane strength with winds of 50 miles per hour, it was predicted to pour as many as 12 inches of rain in some areas and generate storm surges of up to five feet.
"The flash flooding mixed with the storm surge could be a disaster in some areas," National Weather Service Baton Rouge meteorologist Danielle Manning told The New York Times. "Areas that can't handle that amount of rainfall."
One significant hazard with #Cristobal is flash flooding. The @NWSWPC is highlighting a large area of concern from… https://t.co/ya9wMwCl5l— National Hurricane Center (@National Hurricane Center)1591544076.0
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared an emergency ahead of the storm Thursday and on Friday asked President Donald Trump to do so as well. Trump said he would declare an emergency on Twitter Sunday.
The storm brought three to five feet of flooding along the Louisiana coast and into Mississippi, Manning said.
New Orleans suburb Jefferson Parish called for voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas, according to The Associated Press. It was unclear how much New Orleans would be impacted as it depended on whether the city's aging drainage system would keep streets dry.
City resident Daniel Priestman told The Associated Press that he did not observe people rushing to buy supplies. Instead, he said they were "overwhelmed" by the coronavirus pandemic and recent high-profile police murders of African Americans that led to nationwide protests. They were "resigned to whatever happens — happens," he said.
The storm made landfall between the mouth of the Mississippi River and the barrier island of Grand Isle, which was evacuated. Flood waters washed over the only road to the island.
In Mississippi, water flooded coastal roadways in Biloxi.
Looks like the Biloxi Lighthouse Pier did not make it. 🙁 Video sent in to the @WLOX Weather App by Jeff Howard… https://t.co/smLNGUlW1K— Eric Jeansonne (@Eric Jeansonne)1591573773.0
In Hancock County, Mississippi, 100 employees of the Silver Slipper Casino had to be rescued Sunday afternoon when five-foot flood waters trapped them in the building, AccuWeather reported. A family also had to be rescued from the casino hotel Sunday night.
#Cristobal storm surge continues to cause flooding in Hancock County, MS. on Pontiac in Jourdan River Shores. Video… https://t.co/w7UivbovQf— Eric Jeansonne (@Eric Jeansonne)1591570201.0
In Florida, the outerbands of the storm spawned several tornados, one of which came close to downtown Orlando Saturday. Another twister uprooted trees and downed power lines near Lake City, Florida Sunday, The Associated Press reported. The wind storm did not injure anyone, but Cristobal claimed two lives when two brothers, aged eight and ten, were carried away by a rip current when swimming at a Grand Isle beach Friday, according to AccuWeather.
The storm had weakened to a tropical depression by early Monday morning, but the risk of flooding, tornados and strong wind continued for the lower Mississippi Valley and Central Gulf Coast. It should reach Arkansas by Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Recently downgraded Tropical Depression Cristobal will move steadily up the MS River Valley over the next few days.… https://t.co/F1yVcv4h76— NWS New Orleans (@NWS New Orleans)1591609737.0
In addition to its arrival early in hurricane season, Cristobal was also notable because it developed from the remnants of Tropical Storm Amanda, the first named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, which battered El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
"This does not happen very often," AccuWeather lead hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski explained.
The remnants of the storm were pushed by wind circulation over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche.
"It did not take time – given the 29- to 30-degree-Celsius [mid-80s F] water – to help create thunderstorms, lowering pressure and a coherent low-level circulation which has become Cristobal," Kottlowski said.
The climate crisis is making tropical storms more intense, partly because warmer water provides more storm fuel. The waters of the Bay of Campeche were three to four degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year when the storm formed, CNN reported.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece said Cristobal was the third earliest named storm on record in the Atlantic Basin. It is in fact the earliest third named storm on record.
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This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.
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