Climate Change could Bring more Monster Storms like Hurricane Lee to New England
BOSTON (AP) — When it comes to hurricanes, New England can’t compete with Florida or the Caribbean.
But scientists said Friday the arrival of storms like Hurricane Lee this weekend could become more common in the region as the planet warms, including in places such as the Gulf of Maine.
Lee remained a Category 1 hurricane late Friday night with sustained winds of 80 mph (128 kph). The storm was forecast to brush the New England coast before making landfall later Saturday in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. States of emergency were declared for Massachusetts and Maine.
The study says the factors include warmer sea surface temperatures in these regions and the shifting and weakening of the jet streams, which are the strong bands of air currents encircling the planet in both hemispheres.
“These jet stream changes combined with the warmer ocean temperatures are making the mid-latitude more favorable to hurricanes,” said Joshua Studholme, a Yale University physicist and the study’s lead author. “Ultimately meaning that these regions are likely to see more storm formation, intensification and persistence.”
Another recent study simulated tropical cyclone tracks from pre-industrial times, modern times and a future with higher emissions. It found hurricanes will move north and east in the Atlantic. The research also found hurricanes would track closer to the coasts including Boston, New York and Norfolk, Virginia, and more likely form along the Southeast coast, giving New Englanders less time to prepare.
“We also found that hurricanes are more likely to move most slowly when they’re traveling along the U.S. East Coast, which causes their impacts to last longer and increase that duration of dealing with winds and storm surge,” said Andra Garner, lead study author and an assistant professor of environmental science at Rowan University in New Jersey.
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