Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has described Tropical Storm Fay as a “serious, catastrophic flooding event,” as it dumps “historic levels of rain with totals in excess of 20 inches already” in Brevard County. Fay is tracking over the entire state of Florida, devastating crops and causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. Jeff Masters tells Bloomberg that Fay is “reminiscent of Hurricane Irene,” which caused $800 million in damage less than ten years ago.
While Florida and Gulf Coast residents bear the brunt of Tropical Storm Fay, the latest science connecting hurricanes and global warming suggests more is yet to come: tropical storms are likely to bring higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.
As Dr. Staudt writes in the report, “Stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall, and rising sea level: this is what global warming has in store for the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts.”
Scientists are begging politicians to take action. Eight national scientific organizations are asking the next president — whoever it may be — to support $9 billion in new investments between 2010 and 2014 “for research and forecasting, saying about $2 trillion of U.S. economic output could be hurt by storms, floods and droughts.” The organizations — the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, The Weather Coalition, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and the Alliance for Earth Observations — represent “thousands of experts in the public, private, and academic weather and climate enterprise.”
Across the United States and the rest of the planet, people are reeling from torrential rains:
— Havasu Canyon in Arizona is slowly recovering from its fourth severe flood in twenty years, damaging the ancient Havasupai village
— Torrential downpours of as much as 13 inches of rain have flooded Texas and Oklahoma, inundating thousands of homes and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate;
— Monsoon floods have swamped hundreds of villages in northern India, “killing at least 114 people since last week”;