The skies over southern Texas turned ominous on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Harold surged towards the state, coinciding with California’s efforts to recover from the unprecedented storm system, Hilary.
Still reeling from one of the hottest and driest summers on record, Texas found itself bracing for a deluge as Harold continued its westward trajectory following its sweep through the Gulf of Mexico.
Meteorologists cautioned that the storm could unleash up to 7 inches of rain in some regions, bringing with it the risk of flash flooding.
The National Weather Service (NWS) emphasized that the tempest’s impact would extend beyond just rain.
“Tropical storm force winds will accompany the system as it progresses inland, as well as rough surf along the coast,” noted meteorologists.
Additionally, the NWS warned of potential flash flooding concerns, particularly near flood-prone slot canyons in Utah.
With around 1.3 million people under a tropical storm warning, the southeast coast of Texas braced for the storm’s ferocity, including damaging gusts and downpours.
Harold made landfall along Padre Island, Texas, around 10 AM local time, leading to widespread power outages, affecting more than 35,000 homes and businesses, according to Poweroutage.us.
To address the imminent danger, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sprung into action, deploying the state’s national guard, water rescue teams, and emergency services.
Abbott urged residents to adhere to guidance from local officials managing response efforts.
Meanwhile, California was still grappling with the aftermath of Storm Hilary.
This marked the first tropical storm to hit southern California in 84 years, inflicting havoc with heavy rainfall and intense winds that triggered flooding and mudslides.
Climate Chaos Demands Urgent Action
Thousands were left without power, and a Los Angeles hospital had to evacuate critical patients due to a power failure.
The scenes of devastation were not limited to power outages; videos on social media showcased the harrowing escapes from vehicles trapped in floodwaters.
Reports emerged of rescues, including seniors trapped in mud and unhoused individuals near the San Diego River.
Remarkably, there were no reported deaths attributed to Hilary as it moved north.
However, the risks of flash flooding persisted, and the threat of more thunderstorms loomed across the northern Great Basin and intermountain west, according to the NWS.
The stormy events serve as a stark reminder of the growing impact of climate change.
While tropical storms off the US west coast are rare due to cool waters, scientists have cautioned that the changing climate could amplify such occurrences.
With a record-breaking 15 disasters causing at least $1 billion in damages this year, the urgency for climate action is undeniable.
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, noted the concerning trend.
“We’re seeing just this increase in the number of severe weather events but not just in the number, but the severity of these events.”
As Texas and California grapple with nature’s wrath, the call for proactive climate measures becomes more urgent than ever.
The events of this week stand as a testament to the power of nature and a reminder of humanity’s responsibility to safeguard our planet’s future.
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Source: The Guardian