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Climate Change Creating Stronger Storms Like Beryl And Dorian

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Almost five years ago, on September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian became the most powerful hurricane in recorded history to hit The Bahamas.

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Almost five years ago, on September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian became the most powerful hurricane in recorded history to hit The Bahamas. The deadly storm claimed hundreds of lives and left billions in damage. With sustained 185 mph winds, the monster storm battered Abaco and Grand Bahama for days.

Now, as Hurricane Beryl continues to wreak havoc in the Caribbean, it is setting new records. On Sunday, Beryl became the first Category 4 storm to ever form in the Atlantic Ocean in June. On Monday, when it intensified to a Category 5 storm, Beryl broke another record, becoming the earliest hurricane of that strength ever seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Beryl now holds the title as the strongest hurricane on record in July. No storm has reached Beryl’s level of intensity so early in the hurricane season.

With the memory of Hurricane Dorian ever-present, we question the frequency of these record-breaking tropical systems. Research shows that as long as the climate continues to warm, the unnatural effects of human-caused global warming will continue making stronger and more destructive hurricanes. A study completed in 2013 found a substantial increase in the number of strong Category 4 and 5 storms. Since 1975, there has been a substantial 25-30% observable increase. A 2018 study by NOAA discovered a 10% global reduction in forward speeds of tropical cyclones since 1949, something both Grand Bahama and Abaco endured with Dorian stalling for days.

Due to climate change, hurricanes are also producing more rain, something the low-lying islands of The Bahamas cannot continue to endure. As we brace for possible future storms and prepare, experts in the tropical cyclone climate community have reached a strong consensus that the incidence of high-category events will increase.

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