Hurricane Michael death toll reaches 35

Isaiah Spencer | Staff Writer

The most powerful hurricane of 2018 made landfall in Florida, leaving 35 people dead.

Hurricane Michael touched down Oct. 10, destroying everything in its path in the Florida panhandle. Residents of Mexico City, Florida, returned to their homes to find pieces of their lives scattered across the community, according to AOL News.

In a matter of hours, Michael grew from a Category 3 hurricane to the third most intense storm to hit the U.S. mainland, according to USA Today. With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, Hurricane Michael was just two miles per hour short of a Category 5 storm.

“It sucks to know that my loved ones are back home being highly affected by this.”

–Taylor Watson

Michael started as a tropical storm, but as it moved north across the Gulf of Mexico, it encountered waters as warm as 85 degrees Fahrenheit—that’s 2 to 4 degrees warmer than what is usual at this time of the year.

These waters enabled the hurricane to quickly become a Category 4 storm.

Virginia also was affected by the storm. Five people died due to the remnants of the hurricane; four out of the five deaths were due to drowning when motorists’ vehicles were caught in heavy flooding.

Scientists have warned for years that climate change is warming ocean waters, causing sea levels to rise and allowing air to hold more moisture.

This all adds up to more powerful storms, more storm surge, and more flooding.

“It sucks to know that my loved ones are back home being highly affected by this,” Hampton University freshman Taylor Watson said. “I just got off the phone with my dad, and he said it’s not looking to good out there,” said by freshman Taylor Watson.

Climate scientists say that storms like Michael are part of the new normal for weather patterns. If climate change continues at today’s pace, nearly half of all hurricanes will eventually be Category 4 or 5 storms. Just like Hurricane Harvey, Michael started as a small tropical storm and became a Category 4 hurricane because of unusually warm ocean waters.

“Whenever I see things like this going on, I always have time to just pray for the victims and their families going through this,” HU sophomore Aniyah Olberton said.

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