And your calamity as a hurricane doth come (Proverbs 1:27)
I’m sure we’ve all been watching with concern as Hurricane Hilary wreaks havoc in Mexico, Southern California, and Nevada. I was reminded of the last major storm to impact our lives here in southeastern Louisiana, namely Hurricane Ida in 2021.
Hilary and Ida share some similarities, including the following:
- Both were powerful cyclones that caused significant damage and loss of life.
- Both were fueled by unusually warm waters in the ocean.
- Both were influenced by climate change, which is making hurricanes more intense and destructive.
Ida was a Category 4 hurricane. It caused widespread damage and left millions of people without power. Ida grew rapidly from virtually nothing into a powerful storm in a matter of hours, fueled by pockets of extremely warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, Hilary rapidly intensified as it moved northward, fueled by record-hot oceans in 2023.
Climate change is causing hurricanes to be far more costly in terms of both physical damages and deaths. The intensity and severity of hurricanes will continue to increase, resulting in more frequent and severe weather events, including hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. The proportion of hurricanes that reach the most intense levels — Category 4 or 5 — could rise by about 10% this century.
It is important to take compassionate climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the impacts of climate change on our planet and its inhabitants. By mitigating climate change, we may limit the intensity and frequency of hurricanes and protect vulnerable communities from their devastating consequences.
- How climate change is fueling hurricanes like Ida [National Geographic]
- How climate change impacted Hurricane Ida, according to scientists [Mashable]
- How Climate Change Is Fueling Hurricanes Like Ida [NPR]
- How Global Warming Makes Hurricanes, Floods and Droughts Worse [Washington Post]
- How Hurricane Ian Became So Powerful [New York Times]
- Earth 365: Is climate change causing more severe weather in Pittsburgh? [CBS]