Florida: Hurricane Irma is sweeping through the Turks and Caicos Islands and approaching the Bahamas and northern Cuba (Miami Herald) as it continues toward South Florida, which expects it to make landfall by early Sunday.
The storm, which was downgraded to category four on Friday, has caused at least a dozen deaths throughout the Caribbean (NBC) and left more than 60 percent of households in Puerto Rico without power (NYT). It is expected to pass through the center of Florida, hitting both its east and west coasts. Governor Rick Scott warned that Irma is expected to be “much more devastating” than Hurricane Andrew (BBC), which killed sixty-five people and caused billions of dollars of damage a quarter century ago.
“It would be tough enough for shoreline communities if erosion proceeded at the same pace as it did in the late 20th century. More serious challenges, including accelerating sea-level rise and intensifying storms, have greeted them in the new century,” Eric Roston writes for Bloomberg.
“Puerto Rico’s plunge into darkness has been long coming. In July, the huge, government-owned power authority defaulted on a deal to restructure $9 billion in debt, effectively declaring bankruptcy. It has neither modernized nor kept up with maintenance,” Frances Robles, Kirk Semple, and Vivian Lee write for the New York Times.
“Previous administrations focused on adapting to climate change, with an eye to what the planet would look like in the future. But events such as Harvey, and probably Irma, show that we have not even adapted to our current climate (which has already changed because of our influence),” Michael E. Mann, Susan J. Hassol, and Thomas C. Peterson write for the Washington Post. (Council on Foreign Relations)