By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
September 5, 2017
Photo: NOAA / NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
TALLAHASSEE, Fla (CNS) - As Irma approaches, Governor Rick Scott has requested and received a pre-landfall emergency declaration from President Trump. Scientists are starting to believe that such declarations will increase in the future.
If Irma makes landfall in Florida, it will be the first time two Category 4, or greater, hurricanes have directly hit US soil in one season.
Experts claim a changing climate is to blame, and if trends continue, these powerful storms will become more and more common.
James Elsner, chair of the Department of Geography at Florida State University, says warming oceans have created a fertile environment for hurricanes to grow into Category 5 behemoths like Irma.
Elsner says, “They’ve hit our coast in the past before climate change, but in the future, it’s more likely for them to be stronger, especially the strongest ones.”
Damage to Florida’s highly developed coastal regions could be catastrophic, totaling billions of dollars.
Professor of Meteorology at FSU, Mark Bourassa, supports this claim.
“Even if the eye doesn’t hit the coastline, it’s still a mighty big storm and those winds will cause a lot of harm.”
With Irma looming, officials are urging Floridians all over the state to prepare for the worst, as the path of the storm is still unclear.
Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President of Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, says, “Taking steps to protect the windows, the doors and especially the garage door are going to pay big dividends after.”
Governor Scott has already activated 100 National Guard members to help with Hurricane Irma preparedness. By Friday, that number will grow to 7,000.
Florida has 17 billion dollars in the State Catastrophe Fund to help cover initial hurricane losses, but given the damage Harvey caused in Texas, the money could quickly dissipate, especially in multi-storm events.
To learn more about how to properly prepare your home for the storm go to FLASH.org.