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Editorial – Friday, July 5th. 2019

Editorial – Friday, July 5th. 2019
July 05
08:33 2019

In the last three years rain has become a bigger danger from hurricanes than the strong winds. Windspeed is used by meteorologists to forecast the danger that a hurricane poses. But the rain factor which can cause flooding in areas far from the coast has now become an area of concern resulting from climate change.

Weather experts are now showing that a slow-moving, category 1 hurricame can do as much damage than a faster-moving, nore powerful hurricane because of its capacity to dump vast quantities of water on the land. Water laden winds also have more bruising force than wind without the water.

With warmer seas providing a more abundant supply of water vapor, the new genre of hurricanes can distribute an unbelievable quantity of water over the land.

Hurricane Harvey two years ago brought more than 50 inches of rain which it let loose on parts of southeast Texas. In the past three years, as the impact of climate change has become more apparent, rain has pushed aside storm surge to emerge as a principal cause of death and damage.

As sea temperatures become warmer, more water vapor becomes available. As the climate system warms, there is more fuel for tropical storms to become hurricanes. One study completed in 2017 showed that climate change on warmer water can increase rainfall by more than a third.

Belize is a country blessed withmany rivers and numerous lakes or lagoons. These rivers and lagoons will hold and storewater during moderate rains, but in times of deluge they will spill over and cause havoc.

The Maya Mountain range which is like a huge backbone supporting the rest of the country, keeps Belize gently watered throughout the year, so that we do not suffer extremes of drought like so many other countries. But as we have seen this year, climate change can upset the balance of things.

From now on Belize will have to assess tropical storms and hurricanes by their wind force, but also by their capacity to suck up water vapor from a warmer Caribbean Sea and let it loose in the form of rain over the land.

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