Nature Turns Foe
US FLOODS 2021
According to National Geographic, Climate Change is a long term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid 20th century to present. Thanks to the ever increasing demands of the human race, we have today fallen victim to our own greed. Here with more on this topic is Perspectoverse’s Srishti Choudhury.
As Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, said, “When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water.” And today, centuries later, those wells have finally run afoul. Hurricane Ida has devastated the United States. In New York, water is gushing into subways and apartments; in Louisiana, the hurricane turned houses into debris in just five minutes. There have been tornadoes and flash floods across the country.
To elaborate, Hurricane Ida twice made landfall as a Category 4 storm on 5th September along the Gulf Coast, where people were riding out what officials said could be the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana in at least 165 years. Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon just before noon local time before it again made landfall two hours later in Lafourche Parish on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. By the evening of the 5th of September, its maximum sustained wind speed was reported to be 125 m.p.h., making it a Category 3 storm. Rapid weakening was expected over the next day or so but as per the National Hurricane Center, Ida was forecast to remain a hurricane through late Sunday night and a tropical storm until Monday afternoon.
The links between global warming and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to see stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms - though the overall number of storms could drop because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming. Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapour in the warmer atmosphere; scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surges - the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.
Impacts in southeast Louisiana have been especially severe as winds of a category-4 hurricane and seawater inundation due to storm surge have rendered significant impacts to property and infrastructure. One victim reportedly drowned after attempting to drive through floodwaters in New Orleans, while the second was hit by a falling tree in Ascension Parish. In the town of Slidell, authorities are investigating the disappearance of a 71-year-old man after an apparent alligator attack in the floodwaters brought on by the storm. Across the entire state, rescuers brought more than 670 people trapped by floodwaters to safety. According to the governor, the Louisiana National Guard alone rescued 191 people across St. John the Baptist, Jefferson, and Orleans parishes. More than 5000 National Guard soldiers have worked on the disaster response.
In southwest Mississippi, entire neighbourhoods were engulfed by floodwaters, rendering many roads impassable. In Jackson County, an estimated 300 homes were flooded and 150 road closures were prompted. More than 130,000 customers were without power in the state at the height of the storm.
A reported tornado touched down north of Mobile, damaging a motel, downing trees and flipping an 18-wheeler in Saraland. Other damage was reported in Clarke County, Alabama.
Authorities from the Cubal Civil Defense said over 10,000 people were evacuated in Pinar del Rio province. There were no immediate reports of deaths.
New York and New Jersey
A ‘flash flood’ emergency was declared in New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency and told people to stay off the roads and avoid the underground train networks to avert any accidents. An EF1 tornado that tracked from Edgewater Park, New Jersey, to Bristol, Pennsylvania, prompted a rare tornado emergency for Bristol and Croydon, Pennsylvania as well as Burlington, New Jersey. At least 27 people died in New Jersey.
Deaths in the US
To reach out for free 24/7 counselling or support, call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
Written by Srishti Choudhury
Illustrated by Urvi Agarwal