Hurricane Harvey has left many people without homes, without cars, and without their families—and while this country’s efforts have been incredible, according to meteorologists, the worst is yet to come.
While Texas is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, there’s another dangerous storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean as we speak. Hurricane Irma, which began to form on Wednesday of last week, has already reached breakneck wind speeds of 120+ miles per hour, which marks the fastest progression of a storm within two decades.
While the storm isn’t posing a direct threat to the United States just yet, many have warned that it could be the most powerful storm which the Atlantic Ocean has ever produced. Hurricane Irma is expected to hit an abnormally warm patch of waters on its path towards Florida, which could skyrocket its wind speeds up to 180 miles per hour. It could create a never-before-seen standard: a Category 6 hurricane.
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 1, 2017
In addition to this, weather experts have pointed out that the storm has an incredibly “well defined eye,” which is a hallmark sign of a devastatingly powerful hurricane. Many are concerned that this could completely wipe entire cities off the map, particularly those in Southern Florida and parts of Louisiana.
Michael Ventrice, a seasoned meteorologist, warned that this could be the most destructive hurricane in all of history, and may turn into a “super typhoon,” unlike which the world has ever seen:
Veteran USA forecaster Michael Ventrice posted the track model on Twitter overnight and warned it looked like the storm could be a “super typhoon”, with sustained speeds of over 180mph.
He wrote: “These are the highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting.
“Irma is another retiree candidate.”
The current scale that we use to chart hurricanes has never anticipated a threat this powerful, prompting some to add a “Category 6” to describe the type of “hyper storms,” which are now developing in the Atlantic.
Brian Donegan of Weather.com reports:
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale currently runs from Category 1 through Category 5, and Category 5 is classified as 157-plus mph. But how far above 157 mph could the winds go while still being considered Category 5 wind speeds?
The scientists ran hurricane models within six different global climate models, and the results were mind-boggling.
The results showed that three vulnerable areas of the world are at risk for a “high-end” Category 5 tropical cyclone by the end of the 21st century due to the Earth’s changing climate: Tampa, Florida; Cairns, Australia; and the Persian Gulf.
These potential Category 6 hurricanes may be up to 14 times more likely by 2100, according to the study.
The worst-case potential future hurricane put out by the climate models for the Tampa Bay area is unlike anything ever seen – maximum sustained winds of 233 mph with a minimum central pressure of 830 millibars, traveling parallel along Florida’s Gulf Coast, producing a devastating 36-foot storm surge.
Those wind speeds are comparable to the EF5 tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011, except the damage would be along a swath 22 miles wide rather than only a few hundred yards.
Hurricane Irma has been appropriately named after the Old Germanic war goddess. Legend has it that she would ride into battles with the Germanic tribes of Europe on a gigantic steed, and everywhere she went, she left a trail of chaos and destruction.
Some have pointed out that Hurricanes are weakened by something called “wind shear,” but unfortunately, this won’t be happening to Hurricane Irma. CNN has reported that Irma will “remain in a low-shear environment,” for the next few days…meaning it has all the time in the world to grow.
Hurricane Katrina was only a Category 3 hurricane, and Harvey has recently been categorized as a 4. If we are, in fact, hit by a Category 6 “super-typhoon,” like Hurricane Irma, thousands of people will be killed by the onslaught of wind, water, and rage.
Sustained winds at 180 miles per hour, which could easily be reached by Irma, would rip buildings apart, lift cars off of the ground, and level entire cities—let’s pray to God that this doesn’t happen, and that if it does, we’re prepared.
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