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All Of Puerto Rico Has Lost Power As Hurricane Maria Kills 9 People In The Caribbean
The potentially catastrophic storm is barreling into a region recently hit by Hurricane Irma.
By BuzzFeed News

What We Know So Far

  • At least nine people’s deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean islands.
  • All of Puerto Rico has lost power according to the island’s Office of Emergency Management.
  • The storm made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning and is located 35 miles southeast of San Juan with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. Wind gusts are expected to be much higher.
  • Maria on Tuesday became one of the most intense hurricanes by central pressure ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.
  • “We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said.
  • Parts of the Caribbean, including the British Virgin Islands, are still reeling from the deadly and destructive force of Hurricane Irma.
  • Here’s our earlier reporting on the lead-up to Maria.

Now is absolutely the time to politicize Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters

“The full suite of data we have incontrovertibly points to one conclusion: the human effects that contribute to climate change are severe, and are making these disasters we’re experiencing far more damaging than they would otherwise be. The time to transform these scientific lessons into a policy that makes our nation and our world a safer, more secure, more resilient place is now. Natural disasters will always occur, but there’s no good reason to make them worse, especially when we can do something about it today. In the long run, it may be both more compassionate and less expensive to simply craft a better policy, but we can’t do that unless we craft those policies based on the best science humanity has to offer.”

Hurricane Irma has, as of this morning, knocked out power to more than 6 million, caused the evacuation of millions more, and has caused flooding and extreme wind damage across hundreds of miles across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. When Irma first made landfall in the Florida Keys, it set a new ‘first’ for 2017: two Category 4 (or stronger) hurricanes made landfall in the USA in the same year for the first time. This is not simply a bad year or an unlucky coincidence, but is an effect of a planet that has been artificially warmed by human activity. This continues a pattern we’ve seen globally of more intense but fewer hurricanes in numbers, and 2017 is shaping up to be the most expensive hurricane season in US history. At the same time, wildfires are ravaging the western United States, and no, that’s not coincidence, either.

We don’t have to do this to ourselves; we could craft a science-based policy on climate change to minimize the damage of these disasters in the future. The time to act is now.

Last week, Glacier National Park in Montana received its first snow of the season. While it closed Going-to-the-Sun Road from St. Mary to Logan Pass for a short time, that section of the road has reopened, offering visitors as chance to enjoy a beautiful, wintery world. Photo by National Park Service.