You know, because hurricanes are such a recent weather phenomenon.

Global Warming’s Heavy Cost — Daily Beast/Newsweek

Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.

As she roars up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone is doing what they should — boarding windows, preparing rescue plans, stocking up on batteries. But a lot of people are also wondering: what’s a “tropical” storm doing heading for the snow belt?

Category 3 Storms have rarely hit Long Island since the 1800s; one was the great unnamed storm of 1938, which sent 15-foot storm waters surging through what are now multimillion-dollar seaside homes. Normally, says Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, it’s “difficult for a major Category 3 or stronger hurricane crossing north of North Carolina to maintain that intensity, because wind shear rapidly increases and ocean temperatures plunge below the 26°C (79°F) level that can support a hurricane.” The high-altitude wind shear may help knock the storm down a little this year, but the ocean temperatures won’t. They’re bizarrely high — only last year did we ever record hotter water.

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