A state of emergency has been declared in the state of Florida after a monster storm caused the worst floods in decades.
In some areas over 2 feet of water accumulated in 26 hours, flooding homes and leaving motorists stranded, and the death toll has risen to 35 people across seven states.Tornado warnings have also been posted for Florida, Alabama and North Carolina, with the worst of the weather forecast for Wednesday.
The floods follow predictions from scientists that global warming would result in higher tides around the Gulf of Mexico, and a higher than average risk of severe weather in the form of hurricanes and tornadoes.A recent study conducted at the University of South Florida found that the extreme swings between high and low tides have become more marked since the 1990s, with high tides getting higher, and low tides lower.
"The changes . . . have almost doubled the risk of hurricane-induced flooding associated with sea level rise since the 1990s for the eastern and north eastern Gulf of Mexico coastlines," noted the study, which was published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.
If you live on the beach or in some other low-lying area, "you better pray somebody in Washington does something about this flood insurance situation," said Mark Luther, an associate professor of physical oceanography at the University of South Florida and co-author of the study, which compared tidal measurements collected between 1900 and 2011 at 13 locations around the gulf, from Key West to Port Isabel, Texas.
Residents in the beach resort of Pensacola, who have suffered a deluge of life-threatening floods during the past few days, must surely agree with Luther's comments, and if the predictions are correct, the situation may yet get worse in years to come.
Unknown Country Climate Watch also predicted the onset of severe weather in these areas during the month of April; Whitley Strieber's predictions are usually uncannily accurate and this one has been no exception.