Crazy Weather Continues: Hurricane Maria Devastates Puerto Rico

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Stuart Schaenen

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Hurricane Maria

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Hurricane Maria

The islands of the Caribbean just can’t get a break from mother nature. Still in the recovery process from the destruction brought about by Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria blasted through this past week, destroying the already damaged residences of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria was a category 4 storm when it passed over the island of Puerto Rico last Wednesday, affecting over 3.4 million people. Maria had 50-60 mph winds with torrential rains added on top. In addition, it directly passed over some of the most densely populated areas of Puerto Rico. Maria brought widespread destruction, power outages, and a death toll of 10 people, so far. CNN heard from Ricardo Roselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, who said that representatives and mayors from communities across Puerto Rico illustrated the atmosphere and conditions as “apocalyptic”. Debris is scattered across the countryside and some roads have been completely washed away by flooding, after seeing record levels of rain. Power and communication has been shut down and Puerto Rico has had no communication with the outside world since they were hit. It has been reported that the island may not have any power for months.  Evacuations have been ordered for people living in the affected areas; more than 80% of homes are reported as being destroyed. Help is on the way though, after 4,000 members of the army reserve were sent to provide relief effort at the island. With the combined destruction between Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico is without basic necessities and resources and will need much more help from outside powers.

 

The destruction of Puerto Rico is deeply distressing, but what’s even more concerning is the fact that hurricane season isn’t over yet. Puerto Rico could very likely see another hurricane this year based on the crazy unpredictable weather we have been seeing. And another Maria or Irma level hurricane could very well collapse the already feeble country.

 

This crazy weather and seemingly endless onslaught of hurricanes could be a product of climate change according to many scientists. This 2017 Hurricane season has been the most active since 2005, which featured the infamous Hurricane Katrina. Hurricanes form over warm water near the equator, and waters have reportedly risen 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of 150 years.  While this may seem like a lot, it can have drastic effect on global weather. Warmer waters allow hurricanes to last longer and stronger. This could also point to the increase in number of hurricanes that have been seen this year. And, this year has not only seen crazy hurricanes but also large number of earthquakes and floods across the globe. This crazy weather has been used by many conspiracists to support their doomsday propositions, but science attributes this to climate change. If global warming continues, than people should think about becoming accustomed to these hurricanes. Hopefully, the shock from all these catastrophes could provide a sliver lining for scientists and those concerned about global warming with greater evidence to persuade people about their cause.  

 

Works Cited

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/9/21/16345176/hurricane-maria-2017-puerto-rico-san-juan-meteorology

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/24/americas/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-aftermath/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/hurricane-harvey-climate-change-texas.html  

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