Robert Scribbler writes about conditions caused by global warming being just right to start up the Atlantic hurricane season a bit early again this year.
The continued injection of greenhouse gases is continuing to warm the earth and the earths oceans. The impact of the warming is still being studied but their are two concerns to note from this post. The warmth is increasing the temperature of the water and it also creates more instability in the atmosphere. These two factors result in an environment with increased volatility for hurricanes, tropical storms, and heavy rain events to grow. There is a system brewing in the central Atlantic that the National Hurricane Center is giving a 30% chance of becoming a tropical depression. I don’t know if you noticed but this is April! Hurricane season comes but once a year and runs from June 1 to November 30. While I am completely aware that these dates are “in general” but come on it’s APRIL! Just last year we watched the formation of Hurricane Alex in January. Is this becoming a trend or our new reality?
If hurricanes become fair game all year long, are we prepared? Is the Emergency Management community prepared? Are Emergency Services prepared? Let’s think about what goes into hurricane preparedness and response. Everyone spends days and sometimes the better part of a week or more locked in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) watching, waiting, and hoping for the storm track to change. Everyone is looking at their plans and activating everyone and anyone that could have a hand in the response. That includes the Red Cross, the National Guard, Utility Companies, Emergency Services, and the list goes on and on. Evacuations are taking place, shelters being opened, and water and supplies are on the move to be staged for the impacted areas. After the storm fire departments are conducting rescues and clearing the roads with the Department of Transportation (DOT), hospitals are overrun, citizens are homeless and in some cases all of the world seems to be falling apart.
Are they prepared to be doing this level of activity all year long? Can they handle this capacity along with other hazards like increased frequency of wildfire, tornado season, cold snaps, rain bombs, etc? North Carolina is a prime example of potential chaos. People living here tend to say “that’s North Carolina weather for you”. In the month of April you could see snow, ice storms, potentially hurricanes, wildfire, and tornadoes and just for good measure we can even through in a random earthquake (yes we have those too!).
My point is along the Atlantic Coast after November 30th but before June 1st the thought and threat of hurricanes goes out the window. It gives us the opportunity to focus our attention elsewhere like winter storms, Superbowl, and March Madness. What happens when we no longer have that down time? Do we as citizens have the capacity to be prepared all year long? Does our Emergency Services and Emergency Management have the capability to address these not so subtle changes to our changing climate?