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Here Comes Harvey

Here Comes Harvey

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, August 24, 2017/Categories: natural history, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

                                   Hurricane Harvey Prediced Movement Cone, 8-24-2017 (credit: NOAA)

The National Hurricane Center, part of NOAA, has ungraded tropical storm Harvey into the hurricane category. Harvey is now moving slowly over the Gulf of Mexico on its way towards the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. According to NOAA, Harvey is forecast to produce early rains in coastal Texas and Louisiana of 10-15 inches but with downpours of perhaps of 20-30 inches in some locations.

The Gulf Coast and surrounding plains are flat so flooding is expected. Cities like Houston and New Orleans could be in for some real drenchings, particularly if he storm stalls along the coast as models suggest. One weather forecaster was heard saying that this would be the 'worst of both worlds' where a storm stalls and grows in intensity at the same time. A former president of the American Meteorological Society said he feared for epic flooding and has used NOAA models to illustrate that a "waterworld" is one potential outcome of this slow moving storm. His warnings might be a bit folksy but they are being repeated by all officials who have reviewed the satellite weather information.

All atmospheric models predict climate change impacts in the intensity of rain storms which will increase from the greater carrying capacity of warm air to hold moisture. The Gulf of Mexico provides that "fuel" through evaporation into the storm clouds. The Texas and Louisiana coastal infrastructure includes both energy industrial developments and dense population centers. They be tested again for their resilience that proved inadequate during Hurricane Katrina. They don't need any more flooding and other climate-induced disasters.

WHB

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