Out of Harm's Way, for Now

Hurricanes Florence and Harvey suggest areas that are vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes could be hit with much more costly and dangerous storms than in the past.

For most of this year, my wife, Linda, and I were expecting to be in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., in mid-September 2018. A nephew's wedding was the chief reason to make this trip; as it turned out, the Sept. 15 wedding date in Raleigh coincided with Hurricane Florence's arrival in North Carolina. The engaged couple wisely decided to postpone their wedding. One leg of our trip had been cancelled by then, and we expected other reservations also would be.

In just a few days, Florence poured more than 30 inches of rain on some locations in eastern North Carolina, caused more than 1,000 swift-water rescues, and sent more than 15,000 people into emergency shelters in North Carolina alone. By Sept. 17, the storm was responsible for 24 deaths.

The day before, I noticed a study1 titled "The human influence on Hurricane Florence," by Kevin A. Reed and Alyssa M. Stansfield of Stony Brook University, Michael F. Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Colin M. Zarzycki of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They predicted Florence's forecasted rainfall amounts in the Carolinas would be 50 percent higher because of climate change, and that climate change also increased the forecasted size of Florence by about 80 kilometers.

The idea that global warming is increasing hurricanes' intensity is not universally accepted, but it makes sense to me. Hurricane Harvey also produced eye-popping rainfall totals as it inflicted about $125 billion in damage and killed more than 100 people just a year before Florence, remember. These two hurricanes suggest areas that are vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes could be hit with much more costly and dangerous storms than in the past.

I'm safe for now, living in north Texas some 300 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. These storms have made me think differently about the places where I may want to vacation or retire, however.

Reference
1. https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/you.stonybrook.edu/dist/4/945/files/2018/09/climate_change_Florence_0911201800Z_final-262u19i.pdf

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2019

    May 2019

    Featuring:

    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Why Pick a PAPR? 
    • FIRE SAFETY TRAINING
      Fire Safety: Plan, Prevent, Train, Recover
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      The Truth About Heat Stress and FRC
    • AIHCE EXP 2019 PREVIEW
      Underestimated No More
    View This Issue