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Is It Time to Change Our Hurricane Rating Systems?

June is the start of a six-month season of potential storms.

It is that time of year. June is the start of the official hurricane season here in the United States.

There are two developments that can be anticipated in the future in relationship to hurricanes. First of all, there is when the season begins and when it ends. With a warming climate, ocean temperatures will continue to increase and thus the onset of the time when hurricanes traditionally appear may become earlier and later. Just like the wildfire season, we are likely to see earlier and later storms forming outside of the traditional six-month period.

Secondly, there has been talk already about how hurricanes are classified by wind speed. One of the most damaging aspects of hurricanes comes from storm surge. Again, with a warmer climate and increased sea rise we can anticipate having even more damages from hurricanes being caused by storm surge.

When will they change the rating to either have a two-factor rating system or change it in some other way to factor in the impacts of storm surge? What about rainfall and extreme flooding that we have seen coming from tropical storms?

With changing climatic conditions, our warning and rating systems will have to change with the times.