The Issue of our Lifetime: Climate Change & Hurricane Ida
We are constantly bombarded with devastating warnings of climate change’s effect on humans, our health, and the future of inhabiting our planet. However, this crisis threatens not only to affect our future but also our present.
In late August, Hurricane Ida wrecked swathes of the East Coast, inflicting havoc on many people’s everyday lives. Many were left without any power or internet and faced the threat of severe flooding. The damage we witnessed from Hurricane Ida is one of many recent demonstrations of how vulnerable our country’s infrastructure is to extreme weather, as well as indicative of a changing climate. These disasters appear to occur more and more frequently; therefore, we should seriously consider transitioning from fossil fuels and making investments in renewable energy and infrastructure that is more resilient to extreme weather.
The copious rainfall carried more than 6 inches of water over a period of six hours in Scarsdale, resulting in flash flooding that blocked off roadways. The water coursed into the basements and garages of several residents.
“like many, our basement got flooded, we got the water out but the carpet and other pieces of furniture are wet."
Many turned to social media platforms, such as Edgemont Families, to post frantic pleas, seeking advice and aid to recover from the water gushing through their house, doors, overflowing from toilets, and overburdened sump pumps. One resident pleaded, “like many, our basement got flooded, we got the water out but the carpet and other pieces of furniture are wet. Do you know someone who can help?”
“We weren’t impacted at all, but our neighbors had flooding in their basement. I hope the government will work to solve climate change and go more green.”
Another Edgemont resident shares that “We weren’t impacted at all, but our neighbors had flooding in their basement. I hope the government will work to solve climate change and go more green. Hopefully they work with the United Nations and involve other countries as well.” Fallen trees damaged several houses in our community while disrupting travel on Metro-North trains.
More significantly, flooding caused by the deluge and heavy rainfall made road travel hazardous and even life-threatening. Countless cars were submerged to their roofs, forcing many people to abandon their vehicles on the side of the road. The New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, declared a State of Emergency and assured that “the state is committed to ensuring all the necessary resources to recover from the historic and devastating flooding experienced overnight are immediately accessible and available for those severely impacted.”
On the distinguished anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida struck. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused almost 2,000 deaths and $125 billion in damage in 2005. Although not quite as catastrophic, Ida was one hurricane that emerged in the U.S amidst a heavily active hurricane season.
“hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.”
According to data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA), forecasters predict a “60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.” This prediction of increased activity and intensity of hurricanes is a direct result of the rising global temperatures. According to the National Aeronautic Space Association (NASA), “hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.” In addition, increased flooding is projected to impact the Eastern United States as sea levels rise, posing widespread and continuing threats to our safety, environment, and economy.
“warming from fossil fuel use and other human activities is likely behind an increase in the number of high intensity hurricanes in the past 40 years”
This increasingly clear correlation between climate change and extreme weather occurrences is backed by various entities such as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They recently released a statement, saying that the “warming from fossil fuel use and other human activities is likely behind an increase in the number of high intensity hurricanes in the past 40 years”. This evidence, compounded with the devastating impact of Hurricane Ida, comes at a highly crucial point in the United States climate history, with this year being the “hottest summer on record.”
The United States is not prepared for extreme weather, especially following a summer of excessive heat and vicious wildfires. However, we can use these events in order to push for governmental and industry support to ready ourselves for a changing climate.