A house is destroyed after Hurricane Delta in Creole, Louisiana, USA on October 10, 2020. Image captured with a drone.
Adrees Latif | Reuters
The first tropical system of the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to hit land in the U.S. by the end of the week, according to the National Hurricane Center, potentially bringing heavy rain and flooding from the Texas coast to the Florida Panhandle.
If the weather disruption worsened into a tropical storm, it would be named Claudette, the third named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which began this month and ends on November 30th.
The Atlantic saw its first named storm last month when a subtropical storm named Ana formed near Bermuda. This was the seventh year in a row that a named storm hit before the season’s official start date.
United States President Joe Biden welcomes Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees to headquarters for a briefing on the Atlantic hurricane season in Washington on May 24, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
The US is already facing an extensive disaster response. A record-breaking drought is sweeping the west, raising fears of power outages and more serious forest fires. And Gulf Coast residents are still recovering and rebuilding from last year’s record number of storms.
The hurricane season is getting longer and more intense as climate change creates more frequent and destructive storms. Global warming also increases the number of storms that move slowly and stall along the coast, a phenomenon that leads to more heavy rainfall and more dangerous storm surges.
President Joe Biden, during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in May, said the agency would double spending to help cities and states prepare for extreme weather disasters to $ 1 billion this year from $ 500 million last year .
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“We all know the storms are coming and we will be prepared,” said the president during a briefing. “We have to be ready. It’s not about red states and blue states. It’s about getting people back in the toughest moments they face, ready with food, water, blankets, shelter and more.”
There were so many storms last year that forecasters went through the entire alphabet and started using Greek letters to denote storms.
An average season has 12 named storms and six hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But the agency has forecast another above-average season this year with 13-20 named storms, of which six-10 could become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes.
Homes stand in flood from Hurricane Florence, in this aerial view, on the outskirts of Lumberton, North Carolina, September 17, 2018.
Jason Miczek | Reuters
NOAA said it failed to foresee the historic magnitude of the storms in 2020, which saw a record 30 storms, of which 13 were hurricanes that struck parts of the Gulf Coast and Central America.
Acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman said in a release of the agency’s 2021 forecast that while scientists don’t expect as busy this year as last year, “it just takes a storm to make a community to devastate ”.
According to the reinsurer Munich Re, the storms in 2020 accounted for almost half of the total catastrophe loss in the USA last year at 43 billion US dollars. Residents in states like Louisiana, which saw a record five storms last year, are still struggling to rebuild as this year’s season comes to an end.