Hurricanes get slower, deadlier
Hurricanes and typhoons are crawling across the planet at a slower pace, amplifying the devastation they cause when they make landfall, new research shows. A scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found a 10 percent slowdown in tropical cyclones around the world between 1949 and 2016. That trend is even more dramatic in the North Atlantic, where hurricanes slowed by 20 percent over land. Slow-moving storms rain more over a given area and pummel that area for longer with their winds, as Houston discovered last year with Hurricane Harvey, which dropped nearly 50 inches of rain over four days. “Every one of the hazards that we know tropical cyclones carry with them, all of them are just going to stick around longer,” study author James Kossin tells The Washington Post. Kossin believes the slowdown is likely the result of climate change. As the planet warms, the difference in temperature and atmospheric pressure between the poles and the tropics is reduced, which slows the wind currents that carry tropical storms.