As the summer months come to a close, the changing of the seasons starts a new cycle of weather patterns all around the world. The months of August through October are known as hurricane season, a time in the yearly cycle where the potential for hurricanes increases caused by warm tropical waters. It seems to be apparent to me that we need to spend more time and resources to reinforce our infrastructure and better prepare for the upcoming future storms. I am certain that our country needs to prepare and study these changes before we succumb to another $50 billion dollar storm.
In my lifetime, there have been numerous storms and natural disasters that have impacted myself and my family. Hurricane Sandy decimated my community and the surrounding areas. Losing power for days and massive amounts of cleanup. This process nearly took 2 weeks to recover. Blizzards were always an issue as well as increases in tornados from warmer air that has been changed dramatically for decades. There has been a severe increase in violent weather when I compare it to how my parents grew up. While there were plenty of storms in the past. The increase of violent storms is a direct reaction to the climate’s overall change over the last century. I should also state that scientists are still trying to understand the processes of weather and even on predicting certain natural events. Yet, nature is very complex and patterns in the weather can change very quickly. I strongly encourage the people of the United States to fight for better infrastructure against violent weather so we can find efficient ways to adapt to the changing climate. Especially after the recent events of Hurricane Ida.
On August 29, 2021, a category four hurricane wreaked havoc on the state of Louisiana and the surrounding states of Alabama and Mississippi. The damage destroyed homes, flooded entire communities, and knocked out all electrical circuits in the New Orleans Metropolitan area. Winds eventually reached 150 mph creating storm surges that were nearly 13 feet high. These tremendous waves did destructive damage and flooded much of New Orleans and the surrounding swamp areas.
Fortunately, the levees that were put in front of New Orleans stayed intact. A lot of the city’s resources have gone into protecting the city from having a national emergency that took place in the state of Louisiana during hurricane Katrina in 2005. While the levees and dams were able to hold, the damage was already done. Hurricane Ida caused massive damage as it continued to move northeast. Throughout all of the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, heavy rains created massive flooding. Normally this would have been a minor issue if our weather patterns followed the same trajectory as previous years. However, the summer of 2021 has seen a huge increase in the amount of rainfall in both the mid-Atlantic and northeast. Throughout the whole summer, numerous thunderstorms and rainfall had already completely saturated much of the land, and a dramatic rise in many of the important waterways that run through the regions.
With an overabundance of rainfall, this hurricane which turned into a tropical storm, completely saturated the regions. While there was a tremendous amount of rainfall, the winds from the hurricane created numerous supercell storms creating tornadoes causing damage in New Jersey, Virginia and New York. Whole communities and buildings became completely flooded or washed away. For the first time in New York City, the streets were completely flooded leading to many of the subway systems becoming waterlogged. In the end, this storm cost the United States $50 billion dollars in damages, and has become the second most costly hurricane since Hurricane Katrina.
It comes to my attention that the weather will only get worse in the near future. My opinion on this new common phenomena has a direct connection with climate change. I won’t oversaturate this with climate change since it is a real issue and does not need an explanation. One of the biggest issues with the term climate change is understanding the differences between climate and weather. NOAA states that “Weather reflects short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location… Weather is what you see outside on any particular day. So, for example, it may be 75 degrees and sunny or it could be 20 degrees with heavy snow.” There is a direct link between weather and climate. With the climate rapidly increasing, temperatures from the abundance of carbon dioxide in the air, earth’s ice sheets are melting at an alarming rate. The ice that is sustained on both poles helps stabilize the sea levels, and keeps the ocean cycle from spinning out of control. The ice melts into the ocean causing large amounts of ice to dissolve and raise the sea levels. Another example comes from the warming of our oceans. The influx of high tropical temperatures is the perfect conditions for intense storms to form. This is a direct result of the increase of catastrophic storms such as Hurricane Ida.
It is clear that the weather will only get more extreme in the future, due to the changing of the Earth’s annual climate.