Hurricane Sally, then Category 2, hit the Southeastern United States on Wednesday, before being downgraded to a tropical storm, then a tropical depression, dumping heavy rains on the coasts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi and depriving some 550,000 homes of electricity.
While the west coast still fought “Historic fires aggravated by man-made climate change”, Storm Sally hit the Southeastern United States on Wednesday, September 16, reports the american channel CNBC, causing torrential rains, floods, and high winds over part of the Gulf of Mexico coast. And leaving Florida and Alabama and Mississippi in the throes of a real “Deluge”, according to New York Times.
Hurricane Sally, then Category 2, made landfall early Wednesday morning near Gulf Shores, a small town in Alabama, with winds up to 170 km / h, before being downgraded to a tropical storm, then in tropical depression. But the slowness of the storm, “Which changes course and intensity in an erratic way” and at times moves less than 5 km / h, is not “Source of comfort”, specifies New York Times. This is precisely what makes it dangerous, warned meteorologists, its persistence can result in “More rain than the region generally registers over several months”.
“Historic and catastrophic floods are underway”the National Hurricane Center said, adding that the storm could dump up to three feet of rain in places.
In far northwest Florida, Sally’s heavy rains transformed the streets of Pensacola town “In rivers”, tell it Tallahassee Democrat.
High winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. (…) A section of a bridge disappeared after a barge struck it. (…) It is estimated that thousands of people are trapped by the rising waters. ”
In total, according to the poweroutage.com site, more than 550,000 homes had no electricity on Wednesday in Alabama and Florida.
Wetter, slower and more dangerous hurricanes
For CNBC, rhythm “Incredibly slow” of the storm and its trajectory “Immobilized over the gulf” from Mexico are clearly “An effect of climate change that has triggered more destructive and more frequent storms”.
Abundant in the same direction, the New York Times Explain :
Climate change has made hurricanes wetter and slower, scientists have found. Recent research suggests that global warming – especially in the Arctic, which is warming much faster than other regions – is playing a role in weakening atmospheric circulation and therefore potentially affects the speed of hurricanes. ”
The Wall Street Journal is less categorical. In recent years, a “Slow wave of storms” producing a lot of rain “Have led some scientists to speculate” on a possible resurgence of these storms, “perhaps” due to climate change. The article lists in particular Hurricane Florence, which hit the North and South Carolinas in 2018, and Hurricane Harvey, in Texas, in 2017. But for climatologist John Christy, professor at the University of the ‘Alabama in Huntsville, polled by the daily, is not necessarily a long-term trend. “Scientists do not have data from decades past that are as precise as they do now, so it is difficult to spot trends or patterns”, he argues.
Two weeks after hurricane Laura
Still, this hurricane season in the United States is “Among the most active ever recorded”, note it New York Times. Just two weeks ago, one of the most severe hurricanes to hit the region, Laura, Category 4 with spikes of nearly 240 km / h, left behind scenes of desolation and claimed her life. to at least ten people in Louisiana, and four in neighboring Texas.
“So many storms have formed in the Atlantic this season, which ends November 30, that forecasters will likely have to use letters of the Greek alphabet to name them, raise it Wall Street Journal. This has only happened once before, in 2005. ”