This isn’t some guy on the internet sounding the alarm, this is our elected officials telling us that an incredibly dangerous hurricane is on its way, likely to the Carolinas.
If you're on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia, you need to start preparing/evacuating now. Hurricane Florence was upgraded to a category 4 hurricane today (category 5 is the highest level), with maximum sustained winds around 130 mph. This is what the behemoth looks like from space.
Here are the projected paths for Florence to make landfall.
Florence is just one of four active hurricanes as of right now, as Hurricane Olivia is projected to make landfall in Hawaii this week as well.
I say “active” hurricanes because there are more storms out there that could mature into a hurricane. Marty Bahamonde, the Director of Disaster Operations at the Office of External Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), tweeted out this harrowing image of all the storms stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic that the government is tracking.
Climate change isn't some far-off problem we need to deal with in the future. It's already warping the world we used to inhabit. Larger hurricanes like what we saw last year in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico are the new norm, and Hurricane Florence looks like it will continue that trend. As the Earth gets warmer and wetter thanks to human activity, it's literally like putting hurricane season on steroids. If you live in the southeastern United States, you need to devise an annual plan for hurricane season that is more robust than the one you had in years past, as it's clear that the governments and corporations of the world refuse to address the root cause of climate change: mankind's economic and political priorities.
UPDATE: Shortly after publishing, a new forecast came out, projecting Hurricane Florence to approach category 5 status as it makes its way towards North Carolina. Stay safe out there, folks.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.