As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it. Read more >
November 30, 2020 10:29 AM EDT
Did EPA’s Non-Enforcement Policy Cause Lake Charles Chemical Plant Fire As COVID-Climate Disasters Pile Up?
September 3, 2020 12:50 PM EDT
In Westlake Louisiana, near Lake Charles, a chemical manufacturing plant fire last week increased the public health threat environmental justice communities are already facing. The fire released chlorine gas into the air, leading to a ‘stay at home’ order for residents who had not evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Laura. Because of that order, and directions to keep windows and doors closed and not use air conditioners, depending on their situations, people may have been at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and adverse health effects from the chlorine gas, on top of the danger from Hurricane Laura. Read more >
August 26, 2020 4:24 PM EDT
Hurricane Laura is projected to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane late tonight along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Conditions will be severe, with pockets of rainfall totaling up to 15 inches, storm surge reaching a staggering 15 to 20 feet, and wind speeds topping 140 miles per hour. Evacuation orders have been declared across the region, racing to get people out of immediate harm’s way.
A hurricane, though, is often only the first part of what can become a rapidly widening disaster post-storm. In particular, lasting disruptions to critical infrastructure like electricity can prove another disaster all their own. This is made all the more urgent given that not all residents in the region have the capacity to leave, and all disaster response will be additionally complicated by navigating the challenges simultaneously posed by the ongoing pandemic. Read more >
August 26, 2020 12:28 PM EDT
For decades—if not longer—people in the United States have found themselves on one side or another of a widening equity chasm. The vast majority of people are on the side of that chasm that is also crumbling beneath our feet, yet somehow the chasm remains invisible in the list of the nation’s priorities. But sometimes there are events that lay our vulnerability so bare, so crystal clear that they serve as clarion calls for change. COVID-19 is that event. Hurricane Laura, forecast to make landfall somewhere along the Texas/Louisiana coast this week as a Category 3 or higher hurricane, could be the next. Read more >
August 6, 2020 10:17 AM EDT
This hurricane season is particularly unique in a couple of ways – not only has it had various earliest named storms, but it is happening amidst a pandemic. The novel coronavirus is everywhere in the U.S. and in the world, and to respond to a disaster under the threat of contagion is nothing short of an extraordinary challenge. Read more >