hurricanes | KERA News

hurricanes

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next 24 to 36 hours and will be "a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday," the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm achieved hurricane status with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph Monday morning, triggering warnings of a life-threatening storm surge that could hit the Florida Gulf Coast. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 90 mph, with stronger gusts.

As floodwaters from former-Hurricane Florence's massive rains continue to flow through the Carolinas, the end of the storm's damage is nowhere in sight.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday

People in North Carolina and South Carolina are coping with flooding, closed roads and power outages as what the National Hurricane Center now calls Post-Tropical Cyclone Florence moves toward the northeast.

"Florence becoming an increasingly elongated low pressure area as it continues to produce heavy rain and over parts of the mid-Atlantic region," according to the hurricane forecasters.

Updated at 3:55 a.m. ET on Monday

Tropical Depression Florence is continuing to bring relentless, torrential rain to much of the South. Florence has already set a record for rainfall in the state of North Carolina, and thousands have evacuated to shelters in North and South Carolina to ride out the storm.

More than 500,000 remain without electricity in North Carolina.

FEMA is rolling out a new tool as it begins to deal with now-tropical storm Florence. It's a rumor-control webpage.

Unfounded rumors — what might be called "fake news" — have been a problem in coping with recent disasters, according to Gary Webb, a professor and chair of emergency management and disaster science at the University of North Texas.

"Disasters do create a great deal of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety," Webb said, "and, as a result, there is the potential for rumors to propagate."

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET Saturday

Tropical Storm Florence is still a slow-moving giant that poses danger to people in North and South Carolina, as its storm surge and intense rains bring high floodwaters to towns both on the coast and inland.

The storm has been linked to at least five deaths, a toll that is expected to climb.

Updated at 6:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The severity of Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is intensifying and triggering hurricane warnings along the coasts of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center announced in its 5 a.m. Wednesday update.

Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities.

But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.

Updated at 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday

Hurricane Florence is growing in size and strength as it barrels toward the Southeastern U.S. for an expected landfall in the Carolinas later this week as an "extremely dangerous hurricane," according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Tropical Storm Gordon has made landfall in Mississippi just west of the Alabama border, according to the National Hurricane Center. At least one death has been attributed to a fallen tree caused by the storm.

Forecasters have urged people along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida to be wary of a dangerous storm surge and flash floods.

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET

Hurricane Lane weakened Friday evening as it headed toward Hawaii.

The National Weather Service said "Lane weakens to a tropical storm south of Oahu but rain bands will still bring more flooding and damaging winds to parts of the main Hawaiian Islands."

Though the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm, maximum sustained winds of 70 mph brought warnings of potential damage as it moved west toward the island of Oahu.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 3 storm as it slowly makes its way toward the island chain.

As of 2 p.m. local time, Lane was centered about 260 miles south of Honolulu, Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, told NPR.

Even so, its outer bands continue to cause significant damage on the island of Hawaii, forcing residents to stay put.

Mudslides, landslides and flash flooding are causing road closures throughout the Big Island, Dye said.

Chemical plants and oil refineries spewed millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and on the ground after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas a year ago. Some parts of the state did a better job than others in controlling those emissions and spills, according to a new report that tries to take lessons from Harvey to better prepare for the next storm.

It may be tiny, but Beryl is scrappy.

The Category 1 hurricane, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane within 24 hours, surprising specialists who dubbed it "Brazen Beryl."

Hurricanes are moving more slowly over both land and water, and that's bad news for communities in their path.

In the past 70 years, tropical cyclones around the world have slowed down 10 percent, and in some regions of the world, the change has been even more significant, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

That means storms are spending more time hanging out, battering buildings with wind and dropping more rain.

Residents of Texas and Puerto Rico are still recovering from the last hurricane season, as the next season is set to start. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 2018 is going to be an active one.

Four of last season's hurricanes were deemed so destructive and deadly that the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization has decided to retire their names.

While images of destruction caused by last year's battery of hurricanes are still fresh in the minds of many Americans, including those living on Puerto Rico where after six months power is not fully restored, forecasters are cautioning the public to brace themselves for another busy hurricane season.

Courtesy of Allyn Media

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea has been helping his native Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September.

NOAA / Twitter

Hurricane Harvey, which caused massive flooding in Texas, cost $125 billion, making it the most expensive U.S. disaster last year.

With hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes and drought, the United States tallied a record-high bill in 2017 for weather disasters: $306 billion.

With the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season finally over, scientists are taking stock of what they say was a monumental year.

A total of 10 hurricanes swept the region. Six were major storms of Category 3 or higher, and three of those were Category 4 or higher when they made landfall, spreading havoc from the Caribbean to Texas.

The Atlantic Ocean is vast and has always made its own weather. But a typical year sees about six hurricanes, not 10. And three strong hurricanes hitting land — Harvey, Irma and Maria — is extraordinary.

So what's going on?

Thursday is the last day of the official 2017 hurricane season. It's been the most destructive year in recorded history, according to the National Hurricane Center, causing what may turn out to be more than $200 billion in damages. It's also the first time that three Category 4 hurricanes have hit the United States in the same year.

For all the ruination in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, at least Americans could see the hurricanes coming. TV networks covered the storm tracks exhaustively. But what happens to an American city when a hurricane strikes without warning?

For the first time since 2013, the five living former presidents appeared together at a concert Saturday night to raise money for hurricane victims.

Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush were on stage in College Station, Texas, to try to unite the country after the recent storms.

The concert at Texas A&M's Reed Arena was to raise money for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

If all goes well, people on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands could have power restored next week for the first time since a pair of devastating Category 5 hurricanes struck in September, the local electric utility says.

"Portions of St. John are scheduled to be restored by the middle of next week," says Jean P. Greaux, Jr., communications director for Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority.

On a scale of 1 to 10, President Trump said Thursday that his administration deserves a "10" for its response to the devastation caused on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria.

Trump spoke after his meeting in the Oval Office with the U.S. territory's governor, Ricardo Rossello, who — when asked by Trump "did we do a great job?" — said, "You responded immediately, sir."

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

The remnants of post-tropical cyclone Ophelia slammed parts of Ireland with wind gusts of more than 90 miles per hour, reportedly causing the deaths of at least three people and bringing strange red skies to the U.K.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

Hurricane season isn't through with us yet.

"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders" in Puerto Rico "forever," President Trump said Thursday, hinting at a possible limit on federal aid to the island territory where 3.4 million Americans have struggled to recover from two destructive hurricanes.

Here are the president's comments on the issue, compressed from three consecutive tweets:

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