— NWS (@NWS) August 27, 2017
Hurricane Harvey was not caused by climate change, but the situation has been made much worse because of a changing climate.
The extremely warm Gulf waters have contributed to the intensity of Harvey. The amount of rainfall is off the charts. The images from Houston are surreal. This is what climate change looks like.
The damage is unimaginable. There are power outages. Over 500,00 have been reported; 120,000 people are still without power. And this is just the beginning. More rain is on the way. And then? Receding floodwaters, and West Nile and dengue mosquitoes.
Much of Houston has been built on a flood plain. The area floods regularly. People there are not strangers to tropical storms or hurricanes, but this is different.
Weather changes, but the climate has changed. Weather events are more extreme and long-lasting. The "summer pattern" of heat waves and wildfires in some areas and heavy rains and flooding in others is part of the pattern of a changed climate. And, people are part of it.
Building on flood plains, reliance on fossil fuels and automobiles and taking for granted that most other people live that way is part of the scenario. It's not surprising that the most vulnerable people are also the most impacted by this kind of a disaster.
People trapped in flooded areas are told to go up to their roofs and await rescue there. Maybe they have children and pets, and maybe a phone, a bag of stuff. That's all they have, now.
But what we are also seeing amid the floodwaters are neighbors helping neighbors, strangers coming to the aid of strangers. Climate change is a human issue. We are seeing it here and now. And we are all affected.
How can you help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? Find out more here.
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