When it pummeled parts of Florida this week, Hurricane Ian almost reached Category 5. The hurricane’s highest sustained winds, which peaked at around 155 mph, were powerful enough to uproot trees, produce significant storm surges, and destroy homes.
Streets began to flood in a couple of hours, and locals were frantically looking for safer shelter from the hurricane’s powerful winds and rainfall.
Similar scenes were observed when the hurricane hit Cuba a few days earlier.
Then, hurricane Ian, which had winds strong enough to destroy the country’s electrical infrastructure, launched itself at the Cuban shore, leaving the island without electricity.
According to the weather bureaus, only four Category 5 hurricanes have ever been reported to have made landfall in the United States.
The severity of the climate issue will, however, cause storms like Ian to occur more frequently and probably with greater ferocity.
The process of making larger, more powerful storms is accelerated by human-induced global warming.
The principal reason for this condition is heat. Cloud systems might eventually develop into storms if there is enough heat and if the heat sustains.
Additionally, when nations burn fossil fuels to provide electricity to their citizens and infrastructure, substantial quantities of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, finally leading to increased global temperatures.
Every time a minor storm develops over the Atlantic, the heat stimulates its growth. Ian experienced a similar situation.
The storm was still weak and could only cause a small amount of damage if it made it to shore while it was in its early stages.
But the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico’s intense heat allowed it to flourish quickly and grow in size.
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Stronger hurricanes become more common
In addition to increasing the frequency of hurricanes, the heat also speeds up their development into stronger storms.
For instance, it only took hurricane Ian 24 hours to develop from a tropical storm into a hurricane. Even before it reached Cuba, it became stronger, devastating the island. It then increased power as it moved near Florida, almost reaching Category 5 status.
Particularly with typhoons passing over the US Gulf Coast, hurricanes often intensify quickly.
Hurricanes Ida, Harvey, Irma, and Michael are a few examples of hurricanes that swiftly intensified as they approached the country’s coast and passed over hot water.
According to studies, heat is a key factor in how rapidly hurricanes strengthen, especially those that originate over the Atlantic Ocean.
But there are other things to think about, such as wind speed and the existence of other weather systems.
Experts are closely studying the direct impacts of global warming on storm intensification because of the recent trend.
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Flooding will become common
Warmer temperatures increase the atmosphere’s capacity to store moisture.
More hurricanes will result, and when they do, they will contain massive amounts of water. As storms bring in heavy amounts of precipitation, flooding will only increase in frequency.
Scientists have previously demonstrated via analysis of Hurricane Harvey’s behavior that climate change significantly increases the amount of water collected by hurricanes.
Additionally, when storms grow in size, the likelihood of storm surges increases, increasing the hazard to populations, especially those in low-lying locations.
Opinions expressed by Texas Today contributors are their own.