Super Storms-A A +A
By Rox Peña
Thursday, November 1, 2012
THE East Coast of the United States was battered by hurricane “Sandy”. As of this writing, the website www.weather.com reported 45 fatalities, at least $10 billion worth of damaged property and about 6 million people without electricity.
“Sandy” is a super storm. Some reports say it could be the most powerful storm in more than seven decades. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest Atlantic hurricane in diameter on record. It combined with cold weather bearing down from Canada making it a “Perfect Storm”. Others even call it “Frankenstorm”.
Unlike the dismal preparations and response during hurricane “Katrina”, the early warning system for “Sandy” is admirable. Mandatory evacuation was ordered in some areas. Subways, public transportation, schools were closed. Police went around with loudspeakers advising people to move.
Schools even called the homes of their students to personally advise them of the suspension of classes.
In spite of the stern warnings and reminders coming from authorities, many residents who were ordered evacuated refused to leave. Not only that, there are people who went to the beach to take pictures of the crashing waves. Parang sa Pilipinas din pala. Maraming matitigas ang ulo at usisero.
The military power, vast wealth and influence of the United States did not stop the onslaught of “Sandy”. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted by several newspapers as saying “nature is an awful lot more powerful than we are.” Indeed, no one in this Earth can fight Mother Nature. If we don’t stop destroying our environment, expect more super storms in the future.
Is Climate Change to blame for super storms?
Before “Sandy”, there’s “Katrina” which devastated New Orleans in the Unites States. In the Philippines we have “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”. Then there’s the typhoon-less, Habagat-induced rains which caused record floods. The never- before-seen storms make us wonder: is climate change fuelling these extreme weather disturbances?
There are opposing views. .Some say yes, it is related. The warmer oceans and rising sea levels are linked to super storms. Others are cautious and maintain that there is no conclusive evidence to prove the connection between climate change and stronger typhoons. To make a conclusion based on science, data from measurements spanning hundreds of years have to be retrieved and analyzed.
To us who are not scientists however, we can sense that something is not normal. So, while the Climate Change debate is going on, we just cannot sit and wait. We have to brace ourselves for more super storms.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 02, 2012.