Yet another major storm has made landfall, with Hurricane Maria entering Puerto Rico as a category 4 earlier this morning. This comes just weeks after Hurricane Irma hit the region, leaving more than 70,000 people still without power.
“For Irma, we were very prepared. Unfortunately, of course, now we’re feeling a second storm in two weeks, and this one much more devastating than the first one. Who knows what the damage will be?” Governor Ricardo Rosselló told CNN.
Experts are forecasting wind gusts up to 160 miles per hour and 12 to 18 inches of rain before the storm moves on to the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas later this week. It's the first category 4 storm to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years.
If you're scratching your head thinking that this year's storm season has seemed particularly nuts, you'd be right. This is shaping up to be one of the most active Atlantic hurricane season in history, with 13 named storms hitting land so far; the number we usually get over an entire season crammed into just half of one. These storms are also escalating quicker than usual, and Maria went from a tropical depression into a category 5 storm over just two and a half days. The intensity of these storms is likely due in part to a warmer atmosphere, which can make ocean conditions more suitable for storm activity. Yet another reason that global warming is a today problem, not a 50-year-from-now one.
Help send money and resources to the 500 shelters open in Puerto Rico by donating to organizations on the ground like The Red Cross, and keep checking UNICEF for more ways to help out as time goes on.