45 deaths have been reported from Hurricane Dorian, but 45,000 seems a more logical and accurate estimate.
Hurricanes and Climate Change
A hurricane’s ability to produce rain is affected by the temperature of the air and ocean water. Warm air can hold more moisture; more moisture often leads to more rain. That’s how climate change causes wetter storms. Researchers studying Hurricane Harvey found that human-induced climate change made extreme rainfall more likely. In general, models show hurricane rainfall increasing by 10 to 15 percent on average by the end of the century. That means that we may see more storms like Harvey.
There’s evidence that over this century anthropogenic climate change will cause more intense tropical cyclones globally. Hurricane intensity is characterized by the strength of a storm’s winds.
Warmer water causes hurricanes and tropical storms to become more intense, with faster wind speeds. The storms draw energy from warm ocean water which can cause a weak storm with moderate winds to intensify into a strong and destructive storm. For example, Harvey had weakened to a tropical storm before it encountered warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened to a Category 4 storm.
Sea surface temperature rose an average of 1.5 F between 1901 and 2016 and the tropical sea surface has warmed faster than the global average. During this century, the temperature of the sea surface is projected to warm even faster, which will fuel stronger hurricanes in the tropics. Some models predict that, toward the end of the century, although there may not be more storms (and there could possibly be fewer storms), more of them will be Category 4 and 5 hurricanes.
Sea Level Rise and Vulnerability
Thirty-nine percent of the US population lives in coastal communities putting many people directly in harm’s way because of rising seas and potentially more intense hurricanes. Sea level is predicted to rise between 29 and 82 centimeters (about one to three feet) by the end of the century as a warmer planet causes thermal expansion of the seas and melting glaciers and ice sheets according to the 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Sea level rise will make storm surge flooding during hurricanes, when the ocean level rises temporarily due to the storm, more devastating.
If global climate keeps warming, hurricanes are likely to be more intense and potentially more destructive. Storm surges and intense rainfall will cause more flooding. Storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 may seem less like unusually catastrophic anomalies and more like the new normal.
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List of Deadliest Hurricanes
This is a list of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes, including all known storms that caused at least 1,000 direct deaths. The deadliest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history was the Great Hurricane of 1780, which resulted in 22,000–27,501 fatalities. In recent years, the deadliest hurricane was Hurricane Mitch of 1998, with at least 11,374 deaths attributed to it.
Hurricanes reported to have caused possibly or known over a thousand deaths or more.
|Name||Dates active||Areas affected||Deaths||Refs|
|Straits of Florida||September 5, 1622||1,090|
|Cuba and Florida||October 1644||1,500|
|Martinique and Guadeloup||August 14–15, 1666||2,000|
|Barbados||September 27, 1694||1,000+|
|Bahamas||July 31, 1715||Bahamas, Florida Treasure Coast Hurricane of 1715||1,000–2,500|
|Martinique||August 5–7, 1767||1,600|
|Havana||October 15, 1768||43–1,000|
|Newfoundland||August 29–September 9, 1775||North Carolina, Virginia, Newfoundland||4,000 – 4,163|
|Pointe-à-Pitre Bay||September 5, 1776||6,000+|
|The St. Lucia Hurricane of 1780||June 13, 1780||Puerto Rico St. Lucia||4,000–5,000|
|The Savanna-la-Mar Hurricane of 1780||October 1–5, 1780||3,000|
|Great Hurricane of 1780||October 9–20, 1780||Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Bermuda||22,000–27,501|
|Solano’s Hurricane||October 18–21, 1780||Gulf of Mexico||2,000|
|1782 Central Atlantic hurricane||September 16, 1782||destroyed Admiral Thomas Graves fleet||3,000+|
|Great Cuba Hurricane of 1791||June 21–22, 1791||3,000|
|Martinique and Dominica||August 25, 1813||3,000+|
|1825 Santa Ana hurricane||July 26–27, 1825||Caribbean and Puerto Rico||1,300+|
|Great Caribbean-Louisiana Hurricane of 1831||August 10–17, 1831||Barbados, St. Vincent, Haiti, Cuba Louisiana||2,500|
All of these tropical cyclones are featured within the Atlantic hurricane database. Data on these cyclones is generally considered accurate.
|Name||Dates active||Saffir-Simpson Category||Sustained
|San Marcos||October 5–14, 1870||Category 3 hurricane||115 mph (185 km/h)||959 hPa (28.32 inHg)||Cuba, Florida, Bahamas||$12 million||800–2,000|||
|Sea Islands||August 15 – September 2, 1893||Category 3 hurricane||120 mph (195 km/h)||954 hPa (28.17 inHg)||Georgia, South Carolina||$1 million||1,000–2,000|
|Chenier Caminanda||September 27 – October 5, 1893||Category 4 hurricane||135 mph (215 km/h)||948 hPa (27.99 inHg)||Yucatán Peninsula, Louisiana, Mississippi||$5 million||1,800–2,000|
|San Ciriaco||August 3 – September 4, 1899||Category 4 hurricane||150 mph (240 km/h)||930 hPa (27.46 inHg)||Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Eastern United States||$20 million||3,855|
|Galveston||August 27 – September 15, 1900||Category 4 hurricane||145 mph (230 km/h)||936 hPa (27.64 inHg)||The Caribbean, Texas||$20 million||8,000–12,000|
|Monterrey||August 20–28, 1909||Category 3 hurricane||120 mph (195 km/h)||955 hPa (28.20 inHg)||Greater Antilles, Mexico||$50 million||4,000|
|Okeechobee||September 6–20, 1928||Category 5 hurricane||160 mph (260 km/h)||924 hPa (27.29 inHg)||Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Florida||$100 million||4,075|
|San Zenon||August 29 – September 17, 1930||Category 4 hurricane||155 mph (250 km/h)||933 hPa (27.55 inHg)||Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola||$50 million||2,000–8,000|
|Belize||September 6–13, 1931||Category 4 hurricane||135 mph (215 km/h)||952 hPa (28.11 inHg)||Belize||$7.5 million||1,500–2,500|
|Cuba||October 30 – November 13, 1932||Category 5 hurricane||175 mph (280 km/h)||915 hPa (27.02 inHg)||Netherlands Antilles, Cuba, Bahamas||$40 million||2,500–3,107|
|Central America||June 4–18, 1934||Category 2 hurricane||100 mph (160 km/h)||966 hPa (28.53 inHg)||Central America, Eastern United States||$2.6 million||2,000–3,000|
|Jérémie||October 18–27, 1935||Category 1 hurricane||85 mph (137 km/h)||988 hPa (29.18 inHg)||Greater Antilles, Central America||$16 million||2,150|
|Janet||September 21–30, 1955||Category 5 hurricane||175 mph (280 km/h)||914 (26.99 inHg)||Barbados, Windward Islands, British Honduras, Yucatán Peninsula, Mainland Mexico||$65.8 million||1,023|
|Flora||September 26 – October 12, 1963||Category 4 hurricane||145 mph (230 km/h)||940 hPa (27.76 inHg)||The Caribbean, Florida||$529 million||7,193|||
|Fifi-Orlene||September 14–24, 1974||Category 2 hurricane||110 mph (180 km/h)||971 hPa (28.67 inHg)||Jamaica, Central America, Mexico||$1.8 billion||8,210|||
|David||August 25 – September 8, 1979||Category 5 hurricane||175 mph (280 km/h)||924 hPa (27.29 inHg)||The Caribbean, United States East coast||$1.54 billion||2,068|||
|Gordon||November 8–21, 1994||Category 1 hurricane||85 mph (140 km/h)||980 hPa (28.94 inHg)||Central America, Greater Antilles, Florida||$594 million||1,152|
|Mitch||October 22 – November 5, 1998||Category 5 hurricane||180 mph (285 km/h)||905 hPa (26.72 inHg)||Central America, Yucatán Peninsula, South Florida||$6.08 billion||11,374–19,000|||
|Jeanne||September 13–28, 2004||Category 3 hurricane||120 mph (195 km/h)||950 hPa (28.05 inHg)||The Caribbean, Eastern United States||$7.94 billion||3,037|||
|Katrina||August 23–30, 2005||Category 5 hurricane||175 mph (280 km/h)||902 hPa (26.64 inHg)||Bahamas, United States Gulf Coast||$125 billion||1,836|||
|Stan||October 1–5, 2005||Category 1 hurricane||80 mph (130 km/h)||977 hPa (28.85 inHg)||Mexico, Central America||$3.96 billion||1,668|||
|Maria||September 16 – October 2, 2017||Category 5 hurricane||175 mph (280 km/h)||908 hPa (26.81 inHg)||Lesser Antilles (particularly Dominica), Puerto Rico||$96.1 billion||3,059|||
Comparing the above data, you can see that if proved correct in verifying a more logical estimate of 45,000 deaths from Hurricane Dorian, then this would mean it would be a substantial increase in deaths from a hurricane in recent times by more than tenfold, and the largest death fatality by a hurricane of all time, by two fold. This would seriously imply that Climate change due to increases in ocean temperatures would be responsible for creating such a large amount of moisture in the air precipitated from the oceans over heating and more warm air rising than usual in more recent years!
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History belongs to those that claim it!
At a funeral Benjamin Franklin stated that, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either, write something worth reading or do something worth writing about”.
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