New Orleans residents are preparing for Tropical Storm Barry, which could develop into a hurricane, to make landfall on Saturday.
If Barry does develop into a hurricane, it would be only the third time in the last 168 years that a hurricane has hit in July; typically, hurricane season in the Atlantic peaks in September.
As our planet warms, such storms are forecast to become stronger, slower, and wetter.
Hurricanes with heavier rainfall, like Hurricane Harvey in 2017, can cause devastating flooding and infrastructure damage.
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Louisiana residents are preparing for their first potential hurricane of 2019.
Currently, Tropical Storm Barry is 90 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, but the National Hurricane Center expects it to make landfall on Saturday morning. If Barry becomes a hurricane, it would be only the third time in the last 168 years that such a storm has hit the Gulf region in July.
Regardless of the wind speed (which is what differentiates a tropical storm from a hurricane), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency, since Barry threatens to dump up to 20 inches of rain on New Orleans and the surrounding coastline.
Read More: A tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico is approaching Louisiana. It will put New Orleans’ river levees to the test.
Scientists can’t definitely say whether Barry was directly caused by climate change, but they agree that warming overall makes storms and hurricanes more devastating than they would otherwise be.
That’s because higher water temperatures lead to sea-level rise, which causes flooding during high tides and in the event of storms surges. Warmer air also holds more atmospheric water vapor, which enables tropical storms to strengthen and unleash more precipitation.
Climate scientist Michael Mann previously wrote on Facebook that Hurricane Harvey — which flooded Houston, killed more than 100 people, and caused $125 billion in damages — “was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge.”
How a hurricane forms
Hurricanes are vast, low-pressure tropical cyclones with wind speeds over 74 mph.
In the Atlantic Ocean, the hurricane season generally runs from June through November, with storm activity peaking around September 10. The storms form over warm ocean water near the equator, when sea surface temperature is at least 80 degrees, according to tthe National Hurricane Center.
As warm moisture rises, it releases energy, forming thunderstorms. As more thunderstorms are created, the winds spiral upward and outward, creating a vortex. Clouds then form in the upper atmosphere as the warm air condenses.
As the winds churn, an area of low pressure forms over the the ocean’s surface. At this point, hurricanes need low wind shear — or a lack of prevailing wind — to form the cyclonic shape associated with a hurricane.
Once the wind speed hits 74 mph, the storm is considered a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Tech