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Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Highlights The Cruel Reality Of Factory Farming

Broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat) are the top agricultural commodity in North Carolina. In 2015, 823 million broiler chickens were raised in the state. (Photo credit: North Carolina Department of Agriculture). In 1999, Hurricane Floyd tore through North Carolina, killing 74 people and causing $6.5 billion in damage. But it didn't just destroy towns and claim human lives; it also claimed the lives of millions of farm animals. The images are impossible to forget: lifeless pigs floating in flood water, thousands of dead chickens inside a factory farm and a few live pigs huddling on top of a barn almost completely submerged under water.

Climate Change Made Florence A Monster—But Media Failed To Tell That Story

That Hurricane Florence broke rainfall records for tropical storms in both North and South Carolina shouldn’t be surprising, as global climate change has increased extreme precipitation in all areas of the continental United States. One analysis released before the massive storm hit, by researchers at Stony Brook, Berkeley National Lab and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, projected that warming would cause Florence to bring twice as much rain compared to a similar storm with normal temperatures. But news audiences were rarely informed about the contribution of human-caused climate disruption to the devastating storm, according to a study of hurricane coverage by Public Citizen. Less than 8 percent of Florence stories in the 50 top-circulation US newspapers  (9/9–16/18) mentioned climate change—and only 4 percent of segments on major TV outlets.

Thirty-One Dead As Hurricane Florence Continues To Ravage The Carolinas

Across the Carolinas, a scene of utter devastation continued to unfold on Monday, as tens of thousands of people have had their homes destroyed by floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression. Fallen trees and flooded highways blocked rescue attempts as stranded residents struggled to obtain food and water. Widespread power outages, landslides, and tornadoes continue to imperil the lives of those in the region. Entire cities cut off from outside aid, police guarding storefronts against desperate refugees of the storm, dams threatening to burst—this apocalyptic scene is now a routine feature of American life during Hurricane season. The death toll from the storm has risen to 31, with one of the latest victims being an infant child who slipped from his mother’s grasp after their car became trapped in the floodwaters.

Why Hurricane Florence Could Become A Public Health Crisis

In the path of the storm are giant pits filled with coal ash, lagoons swirling with hog manure, Superfund sites and industrial facilities stocked with toxic chemicals. People in the southeastern U.S. are facing life threatening winds and rains from Hurricane Florence. Less obvious, but also of great concern, is the public health threat posed by a variety of contaminated sites located around the region. These include giant pits filled with coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal that contains toxic chemicals like arsenic and lead; lagoons swirling with hog manure from factory farms; hazardous waste dumps known as Superfund sites; and industrial facilities stocked with thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals. Many pollution-filled pits in the region are not as hardened against the potential for storms and other emergencies as the public would expect. Coal ash is a case in point.

Hurricane Florence’s Unusual Extremes Worsened By Climate Change, Scientists Say

Hurricane Florence lumbered toward the Carolinas on Thursday as a slow-moving giant, churning up a powerful storm surge that could reach 13 feet at high tide and devastate hundreds of miles of shoreline. Adding to forecasters' fears was the storm's potential to bring days of torrential rain to the already saturated region. The hurricane was unusual for a variety of reasons—and it was being made worse by climate change, a team of scientists said Wednesday. The scientists—from Stony Brook University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research—compared the storm's real-time forecasts to what would be expected if the ocean temperature wasn't so warm and the atmosphere lacked today's additional heat and moisture fueled by climate change.
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