Hurricane Laura’s Rapid Intensification Is A Sign Of A Warming Climate

“Hurricanes that go from dangerous to deadly very quickly are occurring more often, research suggests.”

“Surveying the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday afternoon, National Hurricane Center experts saw a Category 1 hurricane — dangerous, but not likely to cause major damage. Forecaster Jack Beven put the storm’s maximum sustained wind speed at around 80 mph, forecasting a strong Category 2 storm by the next day.

Twenty-four hours later, Hurricane Laura was unrecognizable. It had rocketed into a high-end Category 4 storm, with wind speeds of nearly 145 mph, and was teetering toward Category 5 — the most dangerous.

It was one of the fastest transformations on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts call the phenomenon “rapid intensification” and say it’s happening more frequently, thanks in part to warming ocean temperatures driven by climate change. The speed with which these storms morph can complicate both weather forecasting and emergency responses.”

Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman report for the Washington Post August 30, 2020.