How climate change is fueling hurricanes like Ida

After pummeling Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Ida is spinning its way through Alabama and Tennessee toward the East Coast, where it is forecast to spread yet more severe weather in the form of rain and tornado-generating winds. 

In its wake Ida left millions of people in and around New Orleans without power—possibly for weeks. Damage in the state was a result of wind gusts of up to 185 miles per hour, storm surges reported to be seven feet or more, and torrential rainfall. 

The storm grew in a matter of hours from virtually nothing into a beastly storm, nourished by pockets of extremely warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico that currently measure about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, several degrees warmer than average

“There’s so much energy stored there that once you get a hurricane to form you can feed it more energy and create a monster,” says Louisiana State Climatologist Barry Keim.  (National Geographic)

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