Devastating hurricanes hit U.S., says World Meteorological Organisation

Hurricanes as strong as the ‘Category 4 storm Florence – are barrelling towards the coast of the Carolinas in the United States in another manifestation of extreme weather conditions.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) confirmed on Tuesday that Hurricane Florence is ranked as a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre, category 4 hurricanes are ranked as major hurricanes, with winds at 130 to 156 mile per hour (209 to 251 kilometre per hour), and a likelihood of catastrophic damage.

Hurricane Florence is currently moving West over the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas and is forecast to approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina on Thursday.

The UN weather agency described Hurricane Florence as “very large, very strong and very dangerous”.

WMO added that “Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday. It’s a very big hurricane which can be seen from space.”

One of the main dangers from hurricane Florence is the rainfall, the weather agency said adding, “there is currently a one to seven-day rainfall forecast of more than 10 to 15 inches (254 to 381 millimeters).

Meanwhile, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas confirmed that “we are seeing the highest worldwide temperatures since records began.

“We have been breaking records in some parts of the world. We have seen heatwaves hitting Japan, Europe – especially the northern part of Europe – where a large part of the harvest has been lost, and we have seen quite devastating fires hitting Canada and western parts of the USA.

“We just saw a record-breaking typhoon hitting Japan a couple of days ago; the most intense typhoon in Japan for the past 25 years.

“Japan was also exposed to very intense rainfall, leading to flooding and landslides, with casualties,” the WMO chief said.

WMO said that while the early part of the Atlantic hurricane season was quiet, there were now three active hurricanes moving across the ocean (Florence, Isaac and Helene).

The UN weather agency also said there had been 10 other years on record where at least three hurricanes occurred simultaneously, most recently 2017 (Irma, Jose and Katia).

In the Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Manghut, a very strong tropical cyclone and the largest currently active, is expected to impact the northern part of the Philippines later in the week.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a speech on Monday describing climate change as “the defining issue of our time”, and calling for more leadership and greater ambition for climate action.

 

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