Sunday, August 27, 2017
"Every so often, the worst-case scenario comes to pass.
As of Sunday afternoon, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey seem likely to exceed the worst forecasts that preceded the storm. The entire metropolitan region is flooding: Interstates are under feet of water, local authorities have asked boat owners to join rescue efforts, and most of the streams and rivers near Houston are in flood stage.
Some models suggest that the storm will linger over the area until Wednesday night, dumping 50 inches of water in total on Houston and the surrounding area.
“Local rainfall amounts of 50 inches would exceed any previous Texas rainfall record. The breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before,” said a statement from the National Weather Service. “Catastrophic flooding is now underway and expected to continue for several days. ” (In years of weather reporting, I have never seen a statement this blunt and ominous.)
This means that thousands of people—and perhaps tens of thousands of people—are facing a terrifying and all-too-real struggle to survive right now. In an age when the climate is changing rapidly, a natural question to ask is: What role did human-caused global warming play in strengthening this storm?
Climate scientists, who specialize in thinking about the Earth system as a whole, are often reticent to link any one weather event to global climate change. But they say that aspects of the case of Hurricane Harvey—and the recent history of tropical cyclones worldwide."
How Climate Change Is Shaping the Floods of Harvey - The Atlantic