The next major weather event: 2013?

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Lyndsie Yamrus, Assistant Opinion Editor

With hurricane season quickly approaching, I am very apprehensive about what might be in store for us all. According to recent predictions, hurricane season is expected to be alive and well for the 2013 season.

 

Hurricane season is officially from June 1 to November 30, according to the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These 6 months represent 97% of all hurricane events.

 

You could end up with a light drizzle, or you could end up with a Hurricane Katrina or a Hurricane Sandy.

 

As a permanent resident of the Jersey shore, I was absolutely devastated when I found out what the actual damage conditions were like post-Hurricane Sandy.

 

Katrina was an extremely sad event as well, but Sandy just hit so close to home.

 

Living in Wilkes-Barre is equally as scary as living by the beach. We’ve got the Susquehanna to worry about. I hope everyone remembers Hurricane Irene … that river came pretty close to breaching. The would-have-been-bigger flood (if the levees weren’t in place) would have definitely been comparable to the Agnes flood of 1972.

 

The crazy thing is that Hurricane Agnes was supposed to be a “100 year flood,” that is, having a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. Hmmm…

 

When I heard that the season would be similar to 2012 (if not worse), I really started focusing in on about what could possibly be worsening these storms as the years go by.

 

It’s climate change.

 

The key word here is ‘extremes’.

 

The problem today is that while harsh weather patterns have always been occurring, these patterns are expected to only get worse and worse as the years go by. They’ll become “more extreme.”

 

So essentially, a storm that might have only knocked down a tree or two in your backyard 20 years ago might wipe out half of your house during the next hurricane.

 

Whether we want to believe it or not, the average temperature of the surface of the earth has increased over the past decade, and continues to increase today.

 

As a result of the temperature increase, more water is precipitated out of the oceans, and therefore leads to increased precipitation activity in some areas. While more rain can be beneficial, intense storms, tornados and floods cause severe damage, as most of us know, and some of us know all too well.  This is in part to rising sea levels, which is a whole other problem in itself because that continues to rise too.

 

Meanwhile, in another place, drought will occur for longer periods of time, and in another, a heavier and more debilitating winter storm will strike.

 

It’s very scary to think about, especially since Sandy is still fresh in our minds.

 

Could the entire east coast get hit this year? We can’t say for sure just yet, but one thing is for sure: it is definitely possible.

 

While we are unable to control the weather, it is important to remind ourselves of this issue. It isn’t going to go away, and it is due largely in part by human action.

 

While no one has a master plan to “solve” or reverse climate change, it’s an important topic to think about and dedicate ourselves to trying to resolve individually through our actions. We can’t just leave it to the scientists to manage. It’s far too large of a chore.