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Obama Declares State of Emergency in FL for Hurricane Matthew

Obama Declares State of Emergency in FL for Hurricane Matthew

“This storm will kill you.”

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida as Hurricane Matthew’s current trajectory points to the the Sunshine State.

The Category 4 storm has pummeled Haiti, taking over 280 lives. Matthew is the strongest hurricane to threaten the United States in over 10 years, and state officials are urging residents to take all necessary precautions.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) repeatedly pleaded with residents to take the storm seriously, urging the 1.5 million Floridians in evacuation zones to leave and describing Hurricane Matthew in increasingly blunt terms as he tried to describe the peril.

“This is serious,” Scott said during one of his briefings Thursday. “This storm will kill you. Time is running out.”

The imagery from NASA is most impressive:

For those of you who enjoy meteorology, hurricane expert Dr. Philip Klotzbach noted that the storm had an unusual double eyewall.

After the secondary eyewall totally surrounds the inner eyewall, it begins to affect the tropical cyclone dynamics. Hurricanes are fueled by the high ocean temperature. Sea surface temperatures immediately underneath a tropical cyclone can be several degrees cooler than those at the periphery of a storm, and therefore cyclones are dependent upon receiving the energy from the ocean from the inward spiraling winds. When an outer eyewall is formed, the moisture and angular momentum necessary for the maintenance of the inner eyewall is now being used to sustain the outer eyewall, causing the inner eye to weaken and dissipate leaving the tropical cyclone with one eye that is larger in diameter than the previous eye.

Needless to say, a storm this size must be politicized! MSNBC reporter Ron Allen touted Obama’s Paris climate change agreement, saying that it was “designed to stop” storms like Hurricane Matthew. Of course, based on this rationale, it is difficult to explain the hurricanes that have been recorded since Christopher Columbus discovered brutally colonized the Caribbean, as the use of fossil fuels was rather limited at that time.

There has been one positive development for Floridians, though. Obama has cancelled a series of speeches he was to give in the state, including one featuring Obamacare (which qualifies as a man-made disaster).

One troubling issue that could arise after Hurricane Matthew passes is an escalation of the spread of Zika. Florida has done a tremendous job containing the outbreaks of this virus, which has been reported to cause birth defects and chronic neurological problems. Currently, there are 139 non-travel related infections, well below the 400 projected earlier last month.

However, standing water that remains after the storm could encourage the spread of the Aedes egypti mosquito that is the primary carrier of the virus.

“So in the first wave of wind, heavy rains, and storm surge—it could even have a beneficial effect in terms of washing away mosquito breeding sites,” says Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and the dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, “but then as the waters recede, it could leave residual reservoirs of water in human-made containers that could breed Aedes aegypti.”

On Canto Talk, I discuss the current Zika situation with biosafety expert Jacqueline Hardit, including the potential consequences of Hurricane Florida. We even touch upon a few common-sense recommendations for those in impacted areas.


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