In case you forgot, it’s hurricane season, and let’s just say there are storm clouds on the horizon.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted more hurricane activity than normal this year, since the El Nino weather cycle (which depresses storms in this hemisphere) has ended.
We’ve already seen two “named” storms this year. And the season is just heating up, so to speak. NOAA is forecasting five to nine hurricanes this year, including two to four really big storms.
And that’s not all, folks. The nonprofit Climate Central reports that tens of thousands of houses are going to be in 10-year floodplains, assuming that temperatures continue to rise as they have until 2050. In North Carolina alone, 1,900 homes worth about $840 million could be in danger of flooding in the event of a Florence-sized downpour. Moreover, the University of North Carolina’s Institute for Marine Sciences is predicting more and more of these Florence-style monster drenchers. Whatever you think about “climate change,” temperatures are rising.
So, what can we do? Make sure we’re prepared, for one thing. North Carolina and local governments need to make sure our emergency preparedness agencies are fully funded, fully staffed and well drilled. We also need to better prepare for hurricanes as flood-producing events rather than focusing on wind. We’ve done a good job of making structures more wind-resistant. Flooding and rain penetration is another story.
We’re going to have to tighten local building codes, in ways that lots of people will not like. We have to stop building to the water’s edge and block construction in flood plains. And we citizens have to back up our elected officials (and twist arms, if necessary) when they face the blowback from these urgent but unpopular steps.
In the meantime, what we can do is watch the skies and keep an ear peeled to the weather report.