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Climate Change. Part 21:

2017-SEP: Can government regulations help?
U.S. record high temperatures.
Hurricane Irma attacks Caribbean, FL, SC, GA.
Hurricanes Jose & Maria.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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1

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Could municipal/state/federal regulations "do something" about hurricanes?

  • As implied above, cities could maintain a minimum ratio of exposed earth to asphalt so as to not further degrade water drainage during storms.

  • There are a number of chemical plants in the Houston, TX area. One in Crosby stored chemicals on site in eight trailers that required cooling systems to preserve the chemicals' stability. A plant official said that the plant had:

    "... four layers of security for refrigeration including [two] backup [electrical] generators, liquid nitrogen and cooling containers." 2

    However, apparently, the plant needed a fifth level of security for the refrigeration, because the chemicals heated up; they become unstable; and two of the trailers burst into flames. They reached 30- to 40-foot in height and required the evacuation of 200 nearby residents. Hopefully, the federal Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] will investigate, and alter their requirements for this and similar plants, and prevent disasters like this one from occurring in the future. 3

  • Under former President Obama, new federal regulations were written to reduce the flooding risk to roads, housing, and other infrastructure projects. They would have required that projects that were built in the vicinity of a floodplain, and which receive federal funding, be built two or three feet above the 100-year flood elevation. That is, the worst flood each century would be expected to still be two or three feet below ground level as measured at the new or modified structures.

    Juliet Eilperin, writing for the Washington Post, said that on AUG-15:

    "President Trump scrapped [some] Obama-era rules. ... He said: 'This over regulated permitting process is a massive, self­inflicted wound on our country -- it’s disgraceful -- denying our people much-needed investments in their community'. ..."

    "Earlier in his tenure, Trump eliminated other policies and institutions aimed at incorporating projected climate impacts such as sea level rise and more frequent, intense storms into infrastructure planning. The National Environmental Policy Act ... which instructed agencies to review climate impacts in the construction of bridges, roads, pipelines and other projects, was revoked in March." 4

    With the massive flooding and destruction caused by Harvey, the Trump administration is apparently considering whether to review/modify/implement the Obama regulations. Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, said that in view of Harvey's destruction and the billions of dollars that the federal government will spend in Texas, that the administration:

    "... might expedite our efforts to reach coordinated consensus here as we institute policy. We don’t just want to build back faster; we want to build back better, faster and stronger." 4

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2017-SEP-01: An all-time record high temperature was reached in San Francisco, CA:

The temperature in downtown San Francisco reached 41.1 ºC (106 ºF). This was more than 17 ºC (30 ºF) above normal and is the highest temperature at that location since records were started in mid 1874 -- almost 150 years ago. The previous record was 39.4 ºC (103 ºF) during 2000-JUN-14. The National Weather Service's forecast office that serves the Bay Area referred to the event as: "incredible."

wrote an article for the Washington Post listing other record breaking high temperatures during 2017, between late May and the end of August:

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2017-SEP: Hurricane Irma attacks Florida, South Carolina and Georgia:

Only a few days after hurricane Harvey had dissipated over land, hurricane Irma, an "extremely dangerous' Category 5 storm was strengthening in the Atlantic Ocean. It was moving West towards Cuba and Florida. By SEP-05, it had become the 5th-ever strongest hurricane in the Atlantic with sustained wind speed of 180 miles/hour or 290 km/hr. The five strongest hurricanes ever in the Atlantic Basin have been:

  • Allen (1980) at 190 mph
  • Wilma (2005) at 185 mph
  • Gilbert (1988) at 185 mph
  • Labor Day (1935) at 185 mph
  • Irma (2017) at 180 mph

Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida declared a state of emergency on SEP-06 to ensure "local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm." 6

By Sunday, SEP-10 at 5 AM ET, the eye of Irma was approaching Key West as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of over 110 mph or 177 km/hr. It was a large storm with tropical-storm-force winds already reaching West Palm Beach and approaching Sarasota. Hurricane-force winds extended across an area about 140 miles in diameter. Major costal flooding was expected across almost all of Florida, in Georgia, and north of Charleston, SC. "Florida's southwest coast, from Cape Sable to Captiva, was expected to experience "catastrophic" storm surge flooding of 10 to 15 feet." 7

Irma settled down to a tropical storm as it passed Tallahassee, FL on Monday. SEP-11, at about 5:30 AM EST. About 5.8 million Florida homes are without electrical power. See the updating map on the New York Times web site. 3

The Chicago Tribune has a list of web cams showing feeds from various cities in Florida. Some were live; others were from previous weeks before Irma. 8

As of Tuesday, SEP-12:

  • Some of the 47 bridges that link the Florida Keys were still being checked for damage. Brock Long, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Administration, said that about 25% of the homes in the Keys were destroyed, while 65% suffered major damage.

  • More than 5.4 million Floridians were without electrical power.

  • Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called the storm a disaster "of the magnitude we have not seen in 150 years."

  • Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport reopened; the Miami International Airport may open on SEP-12.

  • In downtown Jacksonville, FL, flooding of the St. John's river exceeded a record set by Hurricane Dora in 1965.

  • In Georgia, St. Simons and Tybee Islands remained cut off from the mainland.

  • In South Carolina, the Port of Charleston has reopened. Flooding was more extensive than was experienced during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

  • In Alabama and Tennessee, the remains of Irma were still caused major power interruptions.

The weather channel has 559 photographs of devastation caused by Irma in places around the Caribbean and affected U.S. states. 8

ViralVideoLab posted a video on YouTube allegedly showing three sharks swimming in a flooded Miami street after Hurricane Irma had passed. Snopes.com, an Internet fake news detector, rated the video as "FALSE." 9

Snopes.com, a very busy web site that investigates truth on the Internet, discussed fatalities resulting from Irma. Six patients died in a Hollywood, FL nursing home after electrical power at least partly failed and the air conditioning completely failed. There were also people in difficulty because their apartment building elevators were not functioning. At least five people died in the Orlando/Miami and Daytona Beach area because they inhaled carbon monoxide fumes from electrical generators. There were four hurricane-related deaths in South Carolina, two in Georgia, and at least 37 people in the Caribbean.

By SEP-13, Snopes reported that in Florida:

"The number of people without electricity in the steamy late-summer heat dropped to 9.5 million — just under half of Florida’s population. Utility officials warned it could take 10 days or more for power to be fully restored. About 110,000 people remained in shelters across the state."9

Electrical utility workers from a far away as Ontario, Canada are converging on Florida to help restore power.

Bloomberg estimates that Hurricane Irma caused $58 billion damage to Florida, and $30 billion to Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean.

Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground, said that if Irma had passed 20 miles west of Marco Island instead of striking it on Sunday, then

"... the damage would have been astronomical."

Such a track would have placed the powerful, eastern eye wall of Irma on Florida’s Gulf Coast where it would have hit the state's biggest population center of Miami-Dade County. 10

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Additional major hurricanes form in the Atlantic ocean:

  • Jose formed in the middle of the Atlantic ocean behind Irma. It briefly reached a Category 5 hurricane during SEP-09 & 10, then gradually weakened to become a tropical storm (TS) by SEP-20. It has caused flooding from North Carolina. to Massachusetts, to the Long Island shoreline. It is expected to become a Tropical Depression (TD) by SEP-22. On SEP-20 it was about 200 miles South of Nantucket, MA and was moving about 8 miles/hour North East away from the U.S. mainland. It is expected to eventually fall apart in the North Atlantic Ocean without making U.S. landfall.

  • Maria followed the path of Irma in the Northern Caribbean. It became a Category 5 Hurricane on the evening of SEP-18; at that time, Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency. Maria made landfall at Puerto Rico on SEP-20 with 150 mph (240 km/hr) winds. At least six people died and power has been knocked out across the entire island with the exception of local electrical generators. 85% of the cell towers were knocked out by the storm. 80% of the agricultural crop value has been destroyed. Governor Roosselló issued a statement saying that:

    "Our infrastructure and energy distribution systems suffered great damages."

    On SEP-27, the official number of deaths totalled 16 people. However, the Center for Investigative Journalism confirmed that there are dozens of hurricane-related deaths and the number could eventually rise to the hundreds.

    On SEP-28, FEMA said that 42% of residents have no potable water. It could takes months to restore fully electrical and water services. 15

Maria veered Northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, away from land. By SEP-30 it had been downgraded to a tropical storm and continues to weaken as it approaches the Ireland and the UK.

Snopes has a report on "how to seek information on loved ones in Puerto Rico."

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Image downloaded from Freedigitalphotos. #10098367 . Photo by suphakit73; published on 2012-AUG-21
  2. "Texas chemical plant could see more explosions, executive says: 'It's not over'," Fox News, 2017-AUG-31, at: http://www.foxnews.com/
  3. "Hurricane livestreams and footage: Where to watch Irma's arrival in Florida as it happens," Chicago Tribune, 2017-SEP-10, at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
  4. , "After Harvey, the Trump administration reconsiders flood rules it just rolled back," Washington Post, 2017-SEP-01, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  5. "France just announced it's banning sales of gas and diesel vehicles," The Independent newspaper, at: https://www.facebook.com/
  6. Faith Karimi, et al., "Hurricane Irma, now a Category 3 storm, begins lashing Florida," CNN, 2017-SEP-09, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  7. "Maps: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s Path," New York Times, 2017-SEP-09 at 1:00 ET, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  8. Pam Wright, "Florida, Georgia, South Carolina Reeling After Irma's Historic Assault; Navy Dispatches Ships, Aircraft Carrier to the Keys," The Weather Channel, 2012-SEP-12, at: https://weather.com/
  9. Dan Evon, "Three Sharks Filmed in Miami Flood Waters After Hurricane Irma?," Snopes, 2017-SEP-12, at: http://www.snopes.com/
  10. Brian K Sullivan, "A $150 Billion Misfire: How Disaster Models Got Irma Wrong," Bloomberg, 2017-SEP-11, at: https://www.bloomberg.com/
  11. Nick Duffy, "Pastor claims Hurricane Harvey was God’s punishment for Texas failure to pass anti-LGBT law," Pink News, 2017-AUG-31, at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/12
  12. Kimberly Winston, "Where are the condemnations of Harvey as ‘God’s punishment’?," Salt Lake City Tribune, 2017-AUG-30, at: http://www.sltrib.com/
  13. Kevin Swanson, "Supreme Court: Reverse Obergefell Now! Time for a Day of Humility and Fasting," Generations, 2017-SEP-07, at: https://www.generations.org/
  14. Zakariavirk, "USA: God will stop tropical storm Irma if..." The Muslim Times, 2017-SEP-09, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
  15. Brian Resnick & Eliza Barclay, "What every American needs to know about Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster," Vox, 2017-SEP-29, at: https://www.vox.com/

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The following reports in this section that discuss environment and climate change may be of interest to you:

  • Part 1: 2013: Quotes. Background. Bay of Bengal incident. Decline in Canada's arctic ice cover.

  • Part 2: 2013/2014: Canada loses its seasons. 316 North American cities to be under water.

  • Part 3: 2013/2014: Christians, Republicans' & Democrats' beliefs differ. Volcanoes cause pauses in global warming. Americans' views on climate change.

  • Part 4: 2014/2015: How Americans viewed climate change. HFC limits. Groups abandoning ALEC. Paris Conference reaches agreement.

  • Part 5: 2016-FEB to AUG: Climate change concerns: Ocean levels rising. Displacement of animal species. Greenland glacier melting. "Third Pole" glaciers melting.

  • Part 6: 2016-SEP: Flooding on the U.S. East coast. U.S. and China ratify the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Pres. Obama: trends are "terrifying."

  • Part 7: 2016-SEP: Obama comments on warming (Continued). 31 countries ratify Paris agreement. Trump zigzags on Climate Change.

  • Part 8: 2016-Summer/Fall: Events showing that climate change is adversely affecting life on Earth

  • Part 9: 2016-OCT: Did God send Hurricane Matthew as an anti-LGBT message to humanity? Alternate opinions. Hurricane Matthew re-enters Atlantic Ocean.

  • Part 10: 2016-NOV: U.S. Costal real estate threatened. Rapid temperature rise in the Arctic. Very large poll about climate change.

  • Part 11: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's climate change beliefs. New heads of federal government departments. Extinction of 11 species.

  • Part 12: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's 16 promised plans on energy and the environment.

  • Part 13: star 2017-JAN: 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record, Ever.

  • Part 14: star 2017-JAN: Recent climate change measurements.

  • Part 15: star 2017-JAN to APR: Climate Change beliefs are changing; more people accept it as real, and are now debating its cause.

  • Part 16: 2017-JAN to APR: Donald Trump Becomes President. EPA Foe Installed as Head of EPA! Hundreds Die During Flood in Columbia. Carbon Dioxide
    in Atmosphere Reaches New High.


  • Part 17: 2017-JAN to APR: Studies of the effects of sea-level rise in California between now and the year 2100.

  • Part 18: President Trump severs the U.S. from the Paris Accord. U.S. and world leaders react.

  • Part 19: 2017: More Reactions to the U.S. Withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

  • Part 20: star2017: Group of 20 summit meeting. Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas.Is climate change increasing the severity or frequency of hurricanes?

  • Part 22: 2017-SEP/OCT: The most expensive recent hurricanes to attack the U.S.Does God use Hurricanes to send a message? Conflicts, climate change cause rise in hunger.

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2017-SEP-03
Latest update: 2017-OCT-15
Author: B.A. Robinson


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