Hurricane Matthew Strikes Coast

Here in Hudson, Ohio, we have had mostly calm weather as of lately, but many have no doubt heard of the devastation wrought by the recent Hurricane Matthew. Matthew was a Category 5 hurricane—the first Atlantic Category 5 hurricane since 2007—that formed on September 28 and continued until October 10. The hurricane affected most of the Western Atlantic, such as the Caribbean and the southeastern coast of the U.S. and Canada. The storm caused anywhere between 597 deaths to over 1383, as well as over $5.2 billion in damage.

Everyone can agree on the catastrophic effects Hurricane Matthew, especially in poorer nations such as Haiti, rendered and will continue to do, but the event evoked political dialogue regarding the situation. Secretary Hillary Clinton brought up the topic of climate change when stating that climate change strengthened the intensity of the storm and worsened its effects. Clinton cited higher seawater levels and warmer temperatures for the severity of the hurricane.

Factually, tropical cyclones require certain favorable conditions to form, such as warm waters, high humidity and condensation, and conducive equatorial latitudes. So, looking at the statistics, Matthew should be a stronger storm than if global warming was not occurring. Storms are on average stronger based on wind speeds, and it is odd for a hurricane of this strength to form at this point in the year when climate change alters the timeline of hurricane seasons. The effect of one storm from climate change is difficult to gauge, but hurricanes today will be stronger overall compared to those in the past.

One politician could don his tinfoil hat, look at how this one storm, affected by climate change, is but a mere fluke, proving once again that global warming is a hoax and has no effect on our lives today. While the short-term evidence might support this claim, the data is irrefutable in showing that the world is changing. Matthew may just be a result of that change, and a sign of things to come.

-Matthew Bloom 19

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