This past summer has been an unending series of natural disasters, and many of us have the same question looming over our heads after this record-breaking sequence of events: what is happening to our world?
Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year, but this year has been an exceptional year for hurricanes.
First, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas as a category four storm that caused $180 billion in damage and 83 deaths. The cost of damage is higher than any other hurricane in U.S. history except for Hurricane Katrina.
Second, Hurricane Irma hit Florida as a category four hurricane causing 82 deaths. Besides Florida, Irma hit the islands of Barbuda, St. Barts, St. Martin, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bahamas, and Cuba.
Hurricane Katia, a shorter lived storm, made landfall on Mexico’s gulf coast as a category one storm. Two deaths occurred due to a mudslide.
Currently, Hurricanes Jose and Maria are still wreaking havoc.
On the U.S. east coast, Jose is a category four storm, at its strongest, and it is bringing heavy rain, dangerous surf, and tropical storm force winds from Georgia to New England; however, it hasn’t made landfall – a welcomed relief in a relatively busy hurricane season.
“I am beyond thankful that [Hurricane] Jose isn’t going to hit the east coast … seeing the damage from the other hurricanes makes me very afraid for my friends and family living in the New England area” said junior Gabby Bromberg, former inhabitant of Connecticut.
Unlike Jose, Maria has hit land and is unfortunately hitting many of the same islands that Irma had hit a few weeks before. Dominica and Puerto Rico were hit with category five strength and the British Virgin Islands were hit with category four strength. Maria has taken the lives of 30 people as of Sept. 26, and the death toll is expected to rise.
The tropical Atlantic islands face months if not years of recovery from the combined effects of this season’s hurricanes.
If hurricanes weren’t devestating enough to North America, in Mexico three earthquakes have hit the country so far.
The first earthquake was on Sept. 8 and it had a destructive 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale – the the largest earthquake to hit Mexico in the last century. It occurred off the southern Pacific coast near Oaxaca in Chiapas state. Ninety eight deaths and 300 injuries have been reported.
Pinewood director of alumni operations, Michele Isaac, was in Huatulco, Mexico spending time with friends and many of her family members that live in Mexico during the first earthquake. None of her friends or famiy members were injured in the earthquake; however, it was a frightening experience for Isaac.
“Initially, I thought we were being broken into because of the high crime rate throughout Mexico, but the noise and shaking was so persistent that I finally realized it was an earthquake … it felt like the shaking would never end,” said Isaac.
Then on Sept. 19, Mexico City in Central Mexico was hit with a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. So far 305 deaths and 2,633 injuries have been reported.
The earthquake in Mexico City was much more destructive due to the city being more populated than Oaxaca.
The third earthquake occurred Sept. 23 and was a 6.1 magnitude in Oaxaca state about 275 miles southeast of Mexico City. The epicenter was in between the two previous earthquakes.
The damage in Mexico was especially traumatic due to poorly built structures.
Instead of suggesting that nature has rebelled against humanity, this summer’s events should serve as a reminder of earth’s unpredictability – and power.
If you would like to make donations to the relief funds of these natural disasters, these are reputable sites: