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Are Climate Disasters Getting Worse? If So, How Do We Stop It?

Updated on April 7, 2018
Ivan Hernandez profile image

Erick Hernandez is an expert in writing meteorology articles. He is an autistic young adult with a high school diploma.

Earth's Climate is Warming up

The Climate as of 2015 (1880-2015 Change)
The Climate as of 2015 (1880-2015 Change)

The Earth's Climate 50-100 years ago.

The Earth's climate 100 years ago was about 1 degree Celsius below today's levels and 0.12 degrees above Pre-Industrial Levels. The sea level was about 4-10 inches lower than today's sea level. The climates were much quieter. Everything was much happier, and residents were into the Booming 20s looking as happy as ever. Then came the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, which destroyed much of the city and Miami became a disaster zone.

Then came the Great Depression, and 50% of America was unemployed. Then Came the 1928 Great Okeechobee Hurricane, which destroyed and devastated the Okeechobee region of Florida. The lake there overflowed and killed almost 2,900 people. Then came the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, where extremely hot air and dry soils contaminated livestock, and farms along the grain belt suffered from endless droughts. The reason for this Drying period was that the Bermuda High was much Farther West than normal for several years and that the tropical feed of moisture was not delivered to the Midwest.

By 1935, A powerful Hurricane battered the Florida Keys and devastated the Florida Railroad. It was the most intense landfalling hurricane the United States has ever experienced (Category 5, 892 millibars) and one of 3 Category 5's to make landfall in the United States. By the late 1930s, dust storms began occurring almost every day in the Midwest. 100-degree temperatures persisted, and virtually no rainfall fell during the remainder of the 1930s. By the 1940s, however, the pattern shifted, and rain began falling towards the Midwest. For farmers, those rains put an end to the 10+-year streak of droughts.

By the 1950s, there was a hurricane that formed out of its boundaries. One such example was Hurricane Hazel of October 1954. Originally supposed to strike Jamaica, she turned sharply northward into the Atlantic and made landfall in the North Carolina/South Carolina Border as a Category 4 Hurricane. She caused damage as far north as Toronto, Canada, where she got an extra boost from an extratropical storm and dumped more than 11 inches of rain.

In 1957, There was Hurricane Audrey, which made landfall on the Sabine River as a Category 3 hurricane and produced a storm surge of 12.4 feet on its eastern flank. There were also reports of heavy rain, peaking at 10.63 inches near Basile, Louisiana. As the 1950s waned, the climate had gotten hotter. In the 1960s, the climate remained steady. The ice caps were fine, and the glaciers weren't retreating very fast.

Hurricane Hazel Documentary

The Dust Bowl Documentary

Extreme Weather Events in Earth's history

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hurricane Andrew (In Florida)Hurricane WilmaHurricane PatriciaThe Twin EF4 tornadoes of Pilger, NEHurricane KatrinaSuperstorm Sandy1993 Storm of the CenturyHurricane Maria as a Category 5 hours before making landfall in Puerto Rico.Hurricane Harvey hours before landfall in Rockport, TXHurricane Wilma at peak strength
Hurricane Andrew (In Florida)
Hurricane Andrew (In Florida)
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Patricia
Hurricane Patricia
The Twin EF4 tornadoes of Pilger, NE
The Twin EF4 tornadoes of Pilger, NE
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Superstorm Sandy
Superstorm Sandy
1993 Storm of the Century
1993 Storm of the Century
Hurricane Maria as a Category 5 hours before making landfall in Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Maria as a Category 5 hours before making landfall in Puerto Rico. | Source
Hurricane Harvey hours before landfall in Rockport, TX
Hurricane Harvey hours before landfall in Rockport, TX | Source
Hurricane Wilma at peak strength
Hurricane Wilma at peak strength | Source

The Earth's Climate 50 years ago through the present.

In the 1960s, satellite technology was still in its infancy, so people weren't really getting good coverage of storms until they hit land. Hurricane Hunter Aircraft has been in the mix for almost 19 years before that, so it was a very good source of information to forecast a hurricane. There were still some events which were poorly understood, like the 1965 Palm Sunday Outbreak, which produced 47 tornadoes and killed 271 people. It also included the first instance of a powerful twin tornado (A tornado with a similar-strength twin) striking the Midway Trailer Park in Indiana on April 11, 1965. Then, Hurricane Betsy Came to Louisiana, and Louisiana suffered damage.

Then, in 1969, Hurricane Camille (Category 5 Hurricane) Battered New Orleans and devastated communities, but Camille had long reaching effects into West Virginia and Virginia. Then, the 1970s came, and 2 things stood out in the 1970s. One was the 1974 Super outbreak. That outbreak recorded 148 tornadoes in a day, which made that day the second most prolific tornado producing day on record, behind April 27, 2011.

The other was the extreme coldness the Northern Hemisphere experienced while in that era. The Eastern Seaboard of the United States experienced snow (Yes, that includes Florida and Miami). By the 1980s, hurricanes like Allen, Alicia, and Juan battered the coastlines of the US. By 1989, Hurricane Hugo battered Charleston, South Carolina, with Category 4 winds and devastated portions of Charleston, SC. In the 1990s, There was the Perfect Storm, a combination of a hurricane and an extratropical storm, and it sunk a ship.

Then, the 1992 hurricane season began. No Named storms to begin with until August came around. Then, on August 24, the last Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States struck Homestead in Florida and completely decimated the city. By then, the Sea level was about 0.2 inches lower than in the 2016 year, but Andrew decimated the town and caused an estimated $26 billion in damages. Then on March 12-15, 1993, the Storm of the Century struck the Eastern United States, sending a Subtropical Derecho through Florida and Cuba.

In 1997-1998, the strongest El Niño on record at the time brought rain to Florida and severe weather through Florida, including the February 1998 Kissimmee tornado outbreak. Then, when the La Niña returned, Mitch destroyed the Caribbean and Nicaragua with 75 inches of rain as a Category 5 hurricane.

As we entered the 2000s, we faced threats such as Isabel, which made landfall in North Carolina, the big 4 hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne), which made direct impact in Florida, Hurricane Katrina, which devastated much of the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines and destroyed much of the levees in New Orleans, submerging 80% of New Orleans in 20 feet of polluted sea water, Hurricane Rita, which prompted the largest evacuation of Houstonians in City History, and Hurricane Wilma, which became the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record (882 millibars) (Typhoon Tip Was Stronger, with 870 millibars) and had winds of 185 mph. It made landfall in Cancun, where it spent 36 hours in the city, before finally exiting and entering Florida waters and Making Landfall in Cape Romano, FL, south of Naples. The hurricane caused extensive damage and had winds where I used to live clocked in at 70-80 mph. I was in the southern portion of it, and I lived through Katrina and Wilma while in Kendall, FL.

As the 2010s came, Florida was greeted with an unwelcome sight; rain while temperatures stayed largely in the 30s and 40s. We got out of the cold but was put into a heat wave. Then Florida got Bonnie, which was not a strong tropical storm. As I became aware of what was going on inside the planet, I realized that we are not alone. In 2010, Russia was in the midst of a summer heat wave, and in September, Tropical Storm Nicole combined with an extratropical storm to produce more than 15 inches of rain in some parts of the Eastern Seaboard. In October 2010, there was a rare tornado outbreak in the West.

In 2011, particularly in April, the US had one very active Tornado Season. Almost 900 tornadoes touched down between April 1 and 30, 2011, including 210 tornadoes on April 27 alone. While that was occurring, Thailand experienced one of its worst floods on record, with over 50 inches of rain reported. On May 22, 2011, Joplin got hit by a monster EF5 Tornado, and it killed 160 people. In Texas, there was extreme drought. At one point, nearly every part of Texas had Exceptional Drought. There were wildfires in Texas during the drought of 2011. On August 2011, Hurricane Irene hit the Eastern United States, sparing New Jersey and New York, but not Vermont and Connecticut.

The state of the Climate became even more severe. By March 2012, every state east of the Mississippi River got above average temperatures, including some cities where temperatures rose into the upper 80s for March (that was 40+ degrees above normal Fahrenheit) On October 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck the Eastern United States, where she inundated parts of Lower Manhattan and Breezy point, NY, and New Jersey. That state bore the brunt of the storm. Damages exceeded $75 billion. Even though she wasn't a hurricane at landfall, she sure acted like a hurricane, but also a Nor'easter.

Then, there was the Boulder, Colorado flooding of September 2013. In November, In the Philippines, there formed a new class of Typhoon called a Super Typhoon (Even though Super Typhoons existed way before). Her Name was Haiyan, and she made an impact in Tacloban, with a pressure of 895 millibars and winds speeds clocked in at 195 mph, which puts her far above any known Super Typhoon there. Bopha couldn't match that, and he was a Category 5 Super Typhoon at Landfall in 2012 over 400 miles south of Tacloban.

Haiyan killed an estimated 6,200 people and left almost $4 billion in Damages. In 2014, During the Pilger, Nebraska Outbreak, the second witnessing of the Twin Tornadoes came to fruition, and storm chasers caught the Twin EF4 Tornadoes striking Pilger, Nebraska. No loss of life was reported. In 2015, after years of drought in Texas, the state finally received a lot of rain, but too much fell into one place. There were several flood events. Then the rains stopped in Texas, and Texas was back to having a drought. During the Developing El Niño, I saw something on TV that no one has seen on TV, and that was rain on the Atacama Desert. 14 years' worth of rain in one location, even though only 0.96 inches of rain fell in the Atacama Desert, this location almost never gets rainfall due to the Andes blocking the easterly winds from the Amazon and the cold current off of South America, and I was shocked.

Also, Hurricane Joaquin and the damage it did to the Bahamas, but also to South Carolina. I also saw what appeared to me was a discrepancy, but it soon became true. I woke up one morning and discovered that Hurricane Patricia had winds of 200 mph, which was impossible, but I feared that this may happen (on the revision, they scaled it up to an impossible 215 mph and a pressure of 872 millibars). In 2016, I saw many flood events take place, from Texas all the way through Louisiana and Florida.

There was a massive catastrophic flood and flash flood event in Louisiana that struck Baton Rouge and several Parishes with over 30 inches of rain in the middle of August. Then, there was Hurricane Hermine, which made landfall east of St. Marks on September 2 at 1:30 AM as a Category 1 hurricane, making this storm the first hurricane to strike Florida in nearly 11 years. Then, in 2017, Houston was the prime spot for an unprecedented disaster when some 40-odd inches of rain fell from a single Hurricane known as Harvey, which was the first major hurricane to impact the US since 2005's Hurricane Wilma, the first Category 4 hurricane to impact the US since 2004's Hurricane Charley, and the first Category 4 to impact Texas since 1960's Hurricane Carla.

I predicted 70 inches for a location in Texas, and Nederland, TX saw just over 60 inches. Then Hurricane Irma came through the Caribbean Islands and obliterated everything. Then, just as Irma was about to Obliterate Miami, she changed course and made landfall in Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane. She exited Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane, and re-intensified to Category 4 status before entering Cudjoe Key, FL at that intensity. This makes her the first hurricane to impact the Florida Keys at that intensity since 1960's Hurricane Donna and the most intense hurricane to hit the Mainland United States since 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Maria was the most powerful hurricane to hit the US Territory of Puerto Rico since 1928, and possibly 1899. It made landfall with winds of 155 mph and a pressure of 917 millibars. 2017 not only outmatched 2005 in terms of damage, but in the number of consecutive hurricanes (2005 had 15 hurricanes, but there were 1-2 storm increments of non-hurricanes that year). 2017 was the year the hurricanes struck back with a vengeance.

In 2017, after a record-wettest wet season for California, the same state saw a record wildfire season. The state suffered two massive wildfire disasters; one during October in Central California, and the other in December in Southern California. The Thomas fire surpassed the Cedar fire by over 10,000 acres when it scorched Southern California.

In March 2018, The Northeastern United States saw its strongest Nor'easter since the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962

How the climate will fare in the next 100 years

Simulations that are running through supercomputers can show you the future of the climate in this text below. Here's what follows.

In the 2050s, there will be immense heat throughout the Southwest. Northeastern storms will continue to worsen, and Southeastern storms will continue to get worse. Hurricanes will get worse, and Nor'easters will get worse. What's more, hybrid storms like Sandy are expected to happen more frequently, and there might need to be a Category 6 Hurricane to the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. High-end Category 5 hurricane will be more common during the 2050s-2080s.

Cutoff lows will become more likely, and the top 0.1% of weather events will increase 100-fold. We could see 5 feet of storm surge on a sunny day in Lower Manhattan. We could see a hurricane with 220 mph winds and a pressure of 848 millibars come surging into Cities such as Miami, Tampa, and New Orleans. Hurricanes will be less likely, however, thanks to stronger winds aloft and warmer atmospheric temperatures. There should be more heatwaves with greater intensity throughout the world, including India and the Southwestern United States. In the 2100s, intense hurricanes such as Patricia will be relatively common throughout the world. There will be Category 5 hurricanes that regularly reach 190 mph or more in all of the major basins. There would even be a South Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Season and a Mediterranean Sea Cyclone Season as well. The Global Temperature will be almost 5 degrees Celsius Higher than today's levels. A Category 1 hurricane can make it all the way to Greenland if given the right steering flow.

Are weather Events Getting Worse?

The simple answer is, yes. The more complex answer is that once-in-a-thousand floods have occurred in the US with ever-growing frequency. Droughts have worsened throughout the world, and blizzards have sunk farther south. Eventually, even Middle Florida will se one of those snowstorms, and, yes, even you, Miami of all people, will see a snowstorm or two. Floods are getting worse, thunderstorms are growing more complex, and Sandstorms will get worse. Hailstorms will get worse, Tornadoes will target major cities, just like they did in 2011. Washington DC may be in the Tornado's crosshairs or maybe Oklahoma City will be destroyed by an EF5 Tornado, or even Los Angeles will be struck by an EF5 tornado if given the right conditions.

US Temperature Scenarios

US Temp Lower emissions VS Higher Emissions Scenario.
US Temp Lower emissions VS Higher Emissions Scenario.

Alternative Uses for energy

Home with Solar Panels installed.
Home with Solar Panels installed.

What can we do to slow the rate of climate change?

I'll tell you what we can do to slow the rate of climate change, and that is to invest in Solar Power. Solar Power is the best natural way to save on electricity bills. The initial price is expensive, but once you are on solar power, you could save hundreds, if not thousands out of your pocket on electricity bills in 1 to 2 years. Best of all, all that power comes from the sun, the biggest object in the daytime sky. The sun gives you unlimited power, so long as you have the right solar power battery. The other thing that you could invest in are wind turbines. Wind turbines are operated through electricity from the wind. So, whichever two alternatives you come by, don't depend on coal again.


Submit a Comment

  • Ivan Hernandez profile imageAUTHOR

    Erick Hernandez 

    16 months ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

    Ok. I'll go check your article out later. I need to go for a brunch with the family.

  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 

    16 months ago from Yorktown NY

    Please check this out -

    History of extreme weather past 300 years...

    I don't know for sure about your background.

    I just know how the press and some in our government including Al Gore has been sensationalizing the dire consequences of climate change...

    The truth is our weather has not been more extreme in recent years.

    You will never know that by watching the news...

  • Ivan Hernandez profile imageAUTHOR

    Erick Hernandez 

    16 months ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

    You are partially correct. However, I did look at the old farmer's almanac in 2009-2010, and it showed a cold winter for Florida, and that's exactly what happened. So, the old farmer's almanac is not wrong, but that's only one of the models used to depict weather events over the coming months. Where do you base your information from? And how come you say that I've been influenced by the media and the hype?

  • jackclee lm profile image

    Jack Lee 

    16 months ago from Yorktown NY

    You have a lot of good information here. I commend you on your work. However, I am not convinced about your conclusions. Perhaps, you have been influenced by the media and the hype.

    The truth is, our weather has not changed that much over the last 300 years or so. A look at extreme weather events since the 1700 from the old farmers almanac shows that things in recent years are not the worst... if anything, the last 10 years have been relatively quiet, no category 3 storms has has made landfall in US... How do you square that with the projections made by climate models? All projections by various models have erred on the high side...including increase in temperature, rising ocean levels and increased number and intensity of hurricanes...

    How can this be?


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