Hurricanes and Hurricane Idalia
Natural disasters occur often, and they do not leave places the same after causing their destruction. It leaves life-threatening issues, increases social hardships and economic impacts, and alters the environment, leaving nothing untouched (NPR, 2023). In the Summer and going into the Fall, hurricanes occur because of this, and in a society where hurricanes hit, the most vulnerable places are preparing for the season and what lies ahead. Hurricane Idalia has been of recent concern as it has been the top hurricane this season due to its strength and destruction in the United States of America in the state of Florida (Gilbert & Miller, 2023). This article will briefly introduce what a hurricane is, Hurricane Idalia, and how climate change from anthropogenic pressures has impacted hurricanes.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a kind of storm called a tropical cyclone that forms over tropical and subtropical storms (NOAA, 2023). A tropical cyclone is a rotation low-pressure system that has “organized” thunderstorms but no fronts, which is a “boundary” that separates two masses of different densities(NOAA, 2023). The minimum speed a tropical cyclone can sustain on surfaces such as land is estimated to be 39 miles per hour (mph), and the maximum sustained winds a tropical cyclone can sustain is over 39 mph, which registers to be a tropical storm (NOAA, 2023).
When a storm’s sustained winds are over 74 mph, it is called a hurricane (NOAA, 2023). The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on the hurricane’s maximum sustained winds (NOAA, 2023). Therefore, the higher the rating, the greater the hurricane’s potential for damage on land.
Hurricanes start in the Atlantic basin, which involves the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and they less frequently occur in the central North Pacific Ocean (NOAA, 2023). Hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30. However, hurricanes can and have occurred outside this time frame (NOAA, 2023).
A Current Example: Hurricane Idalia
Hurricane Idalia has made and continues to impact history significantly and people’s lives, being regarded as a “once-in-a-lifetime storm” for destroying some parts of Florida (Gilbert & Miller, 2023). The storm hit landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph Wednesday morning, hitting Florida’s Big Bend region near Keaton Beach (Gilbert & Miller, 2023). This storm is the strongest storm that society has witnessed and experienced in the last 125 years in Florida’s Big Bend region (Gilbert & Miller, 2023). The hurricane also went through a period of rapid intensification Tuesday evening as it tracked over warm water. Researchers were already surprised by how hot the ocean has been, especially the Gulf of Mexico around southern Florida (Gilbert & Miller, 2023). The storm is soon to be minimized. However, it has caused significant damage to property and flooding, making a lasting impact.
Climate Change and Hurricanes:
Researchers can attest to climate change as a driving force for fueling hurricanes, making them stronger and more frequent (NPR, 2023). As previously stated, hurricanes are fielded by the ocean, and in recent decades, anthropogenic forces have “trapped” enormous amounts of extra heat on the planet, which is absorbed by the ocean and, therefore, heating the ocean temperatures (NPR, 2023). It turns non-life-threatening hurricanes into intense and severe hurricanes in hours or days. “Superheated” ocean waters hold a lot of energy, and therefore, a hurricane can be “born” more frequently (NPR, 2023). Although climate change is not making them happen more often, their duration and severity have changed over the years and will continue to change because of climate change.
Three ways on how to prepare for a hurricane: Adapted from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Make a plan: A plan will ensure that your community is prepared for the future and any unexpected changes or emergencies that may occur, including emergency contacts on file and a safety kit.
- Understanding the difference between hurricane “warning” and “watch” is essential to know how and when to act when there is a change in the information provided by local authorities.
- Prepare your home and car, reflecting on point two. This will ensure that if you have to stay home or evacuate, your home is “safe,” and your area is equipped with the necessary items to ensure that you evacuate safely.
Thus, “Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable” Diane Ackerman. Comment down below your thoughts on hurricanes and how they are changing with the environment!
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2023, January 20). What is a hurricane? Ocean Service. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/hurricane.html
Glibert , M., & Miller , B. (2023, August 30). The ways Hurricane Idalia made history. CNN. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/30/weather/idalia-hurricane-history-florida-climate/index.html
National Public Radio (2023, August 30). What’s the connection between climate change and hurricanes? Npr. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from https://www.npr.org/2023/08/30/1196865225/whats-the-connection-between-climate-change-and-hurricanes#:~:text=Climate%20change%20makes%20them%20get,draw%20from%20that%20enormous%20pool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022, November 22). Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm. Cdc.gov. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/before.html
- A Brief Introduction to Hurricanes and Hurricane Idalia - September 1, 2023
- Artificial Intelligence and the Environment - August 25, 2023
- An Introduction to Wildlife Conservation: Animal Agency - August 11, 2023