Hurricanes are intensifying more rapidly and it may be our fault

Hurricane Harvey left Houston with crisis in affordable housing

Did you realize that Houston was left in a severe affordable housing crisis after Hurricane Harvey? A year and a half after Harvey, hundreds of thousands of people in Houston are still suffering. Count it a blessing if you are fortunate enough to live in an affordable home of your own.

Carmela Guerra, a mother of four who is fighting ovarian cancer and receives disability, doesn’t have that.

“We started getting about 6,000 applications a month after Harvey and it just exploded,” explains Tory Gunsolley, president of the Houston Housing Authority. “We’ve now had to close the waiting list.”

Before Harvey struck, there were 14,226 people on the Houston Housing Authority public housing wait list. That number has increased to 112,559.

“Affordable housing is increasingly becoming a crisis,” adds Gunsolley, who says sadly that thousands of…


Hurricanes are intensifying more rapidly and it may be our fault

A boat sits amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Gerald Herbert / AP

The percentage of tropical systems that have intensified rapidly in the Atlantic Ocean has tripled over the last three decades, according to a study published Thursday in Nature Communications, a scientific research journal.

Storms that quickly strengthen are often the most challenging to predict. They’re also more likely to become major hurricanes and can cause more damage.

This concerns the lead author of the study, Kieran Bhatia.  “One of the worst-case scenarios associated with tropical cyclones is when a weak storm unexpectedly intensifies into a major hurricane (wind speeds greater than 109 mph) hours before landfall,” Bhatia said. “In these situations, communities do not have adequate notice to evacuate and prepare for hazards, which leads to high mortality rates and financial losses.”

One storm that recently burst into a powerhouse was Hurricane Michael, which slammed into the Florida Panhandle in October. In the 24 hours leading up to its landfall, Michael’s winds jumped 45 mph — taking the storm from a strong category 2 to a devastating high-end category 4 with winds of 155 mph. The spike resulted in many people being underprepared and the storm caused $25 billion in damage, making it the year’s costliest…


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