A More Active Hurricane Season May Be A Sign Climate Change Is Real

A More Active Hurricane Season May Be A Sign Climate Change Is Real

This is the most costliest season since 2005!
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After the landfall of Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent landfall of Hurricane Irma, it seems the United States has had a crazier than normal Atlantic Hurricane season. Or possibly it’s just media hype? I think it’s important to look at statistics before we get too worried about the hurricane season which actually has been the most destructive since 2005.

First, let’s compare this year's season, which is still ongoing until November 30th, to 2016 Hurricane season. The average for hurricane seasons, (overall data from (1981 to 2010), is 12.1 named storms, usually tropical storms or depressions; 6.4 hurricanes, which includes any hurricane between the category of one to about three; and 2.7 major hurricanes, which includes hurricanes that are category four or higher. 2016 had a higher than average hurricane season with fifteen named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Meteorologists say the high season had been due to an El Nino which affected the moisture and water temperatures in the atlantic ocean.

So far this season we have had thirteen storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes, which is very close to 2016’s totals. We still have two more months until the end of hurricane season. Atlantic Hurricane season starts officially on June 1st which is around the average time when these weather patterns begin to form, and ends on November 30th when the tropical cyclones dissipate. Tropical cyclones can occur anytime of the year, weather conditions permitting. 2016’s season started as early as January 12th, and 2017’s season on April 19th. 2005, the most active hurricane season in history had a hurricane season that lasted until January.

The season might seem like it is only a little bit more active than average however, it’s important to note that the average has increased since the 2000s due to the record high hurricane season in 2005 and the ever escalating hurricane seasons later. Before 2005, the averages had been 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 major hurricanes. The hurricanes in 2005 shattered those averages with a whopping twenty-eight named storms, fifteen hurricanes and seven major hurricanes. This had been the season to produce storms like Katrina, Wilma, Rita and Dennis.

Environmental activists and ecologists have pointed out that the rise in active atlantic hurricane seasons has been due to climate change and global warming. It is true that the average water temperature has been increasing annually and that the water temperature can affect the strength of a hurricane. This had an impact on Hurricane Katrina’s intensity, which had been a category four before entering the gulf coast. That year the Gulf Coast had unseasonable warm waters, resulting in the Hurricane blowing up in intensity from a category four to a category five.

While this season isn’t the most active on record, it is higher than average and is far higher than the old average before the 2005 hurricane season. It’s important to pay attention to the intensity of these seasons as years go on because they will and already are affecting atlantic tropical areas like Puerto Rico and Windward Islands and this season is already far more active than previously predicted. Hopefully it won’t get much worse, but it might.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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To The Jerks Who Order Delivery In A Snow Storm, I'm Calling You Out

If you wouldn't drive in it, you shouldn't make a teenager with a 1996 Honda Accord do it instead.

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We live in an amazing world where if we want delivery at 2 a.m., we can get it. That being said, if there's a pretty terrible snowstorm out you can probably bet that your local Domino's is open and delivering. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

I work in a franchise pizza place and often when there's snow on the road, our orders come in, and a majority of them are deliveries. And just as often, people often ask if ordering when there are inches of snow outside makes them a jerk. Quite frankly, yes, it does. If you're sitting in your home looking outside thinking it's too dangerous for you to drive, then order delivery because you can't just cook for yourself for one day, yes, you are kind of a jerk.

Let me explain why. As we get piled up with orders, most of the time the roads aren't cleared and customers don't even do the slight courtesy of shoveling a quick walkway to their door. So not only are drivers risking their lives with the elements and other drivers, but they're also slipping on their way up to your door. And of course, because of careful driving, the delivery time may take longer than usual and that often leaves to little tips.

So 20-year-old Johnny in his 1996 Honda Accord pushes against horrible weather and risks his life so you can get your food, and receive barely a tip? This is what you don't do!

However, people will always order delivery when there's terrible weather, and you should be more grateful that drivers make it to your door instead of the company's ability to deliver to you at this moment. Because companies will always be there to deliver in your time of need, the least you can do is be a little less of a jerk by doing these simple things:

Tip well. Like, really well. Delivery fees often don't go to the drivers and they're making anywhere from 2 to 5 dollars while driving. Your delivery person will greatly appreciate it after they just risked their lives!

Allow extra time. When there's snow, there are orders. Chances are you aren't the only delivery at this time and the drivers are doing their best to get your food to you in a timely manner while still staying safe. Don't call after 20 minutes complaining about where the food is. Everyone is just trying their best!

Don't leave negative reviews. Seriously, if there's an actual problem call your restaurant and explain so they can at least resolve it with a credit for the next time you order. Give them some slack, don't make them suffer because the wait was too long in terrible weather or they forgot your ketchup packages.

Or maybe just reconsider ordering delivery? Working in the service industry is hard, snow days make it so much harder and really push employees to their limit. People show up to work because they need the money so someone will always be there to deliver for you, but consider making their day slightly easier by cooking your dinner at home instead.

Just because a delivery driver can make it, doesn't mean he/she should even go for it. Consider skipping the delivery during a terrible storm, or at least, don't be a total jerk about it because we truly do appreciate it when we at least get proper gratitude during this hard time.

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