If another hurricane the same size or larger than Harvey hits the mainland of America I don’t think people have fully considered how it could impact the entire nation. Irma is looking to be much larger than Harvey. However, right now, as with any hurricane, where it’s going is anyone’s guess.

Climate change means warmer oceans, bigger, wetter storms

With climate change and ocean temperatures warming, it becomes exponentially more difficult to predict what these storms are going to do -- not so much the path of the storm as the size, scope, and/or volume. Harvey was a reasonably typical hurricane until he stalled.

The warmer ocean waters quickly made themselves known. Harvey sat straddled between the ocean and a large portion of Texas, feeding on the warmer waters and dumping 33 trillion gallons of water in an area roughly the size of New Jersey. Then, the real problems began -- that much water inundates everything.

The health issue: Raw sewage and heavy metal mixed with flood waters. Raw sewage becomes part of the deluge, along with any number of pollutants from factories, businesses, and homes. Heavy metals like lead, cadmium, asbestos, and arsenic became infused with the flood waters and then thousands of children played in it. Because who knew?

It could take a while before the real damage is fully known.

The cost of the hurricane is unknown, save for speculation and educated guesses. Some of these toxins take time to fully manifest as a health issue. All of these pollutants are now part of the soil. Some will be filtered, but the plants that grow from them are liable to be carrying some new ingredients within.

Animals are not likely to eat the hay. People can easily continue to get sick.

Katrina, Harvey, Haiyan: Climate change is now

We in Texas, are extremely lucky that Houston did not have a local nuclear power plant. That could have given the disaster several worsening dimensions. You can imagine the long list of problems that this would have cost the state and this entire country for years to come.

To this day we are hearing the echoes of Katrina. We are likely to hear those of Harvey for at least as long.

It is anyone’s guess which part of a disaster is going to be the source of an information bottleneck? With Harvey, the average person, myself included, was totally unaware that the conditions were perfect for flooding of what some called "biblical" proportions.

And now, we have a possible superstorm in Irma that is already apparently the second largest hurricane ever recorded. The first was "super-typhoon" Haiyan. This storm hit the Philippines. 6,329 were confirmed dead there, while 1,037 were never recovered and are listed as missing.

We can never tell where the proverbial punch is going to hit and what part of the body it will damage, but with climate change we are beginning to take note, and it’s liable to be extensive.

Those in Florida or anyone else that is currently in the path of Irma, take a lesson from Harvey, Katrina, and Haiyan and be prepared for anything. Climate change is real. We need to change with it if we are to survive!

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