After a catastrophic storm swept through Florida, leaving a trail of inland flooding, wind damage and death, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still does not understand the fundamental truth about man-made changes in the Earth’s atmosphere are producing violent results and only a transition to clean energy can assure that our planet will be able to sustain life in the decades ahead.
DeSantis said that the surge that came with Hurricane Ian was “basically a 500-year flood event.” State officials are blaming 94 deaths across the state on Hurricane Ian, according to Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.
“We’ve never seen a flood event like this. We’ve never seen a storm surge of this magnitude,” insisted DeSantis, but it is not as if nobody saw this coming.
In May, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center forecast the seventh above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in a row.
“We will be extending the record period,” said Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA’s lead for the seasonal hurricane outlook, who discussed the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook in detail months before Ian struck. “Not anywhere in the past have we had six consecutive seasons above normal.”
NOAA’s Outlook in May, predicted a 65% chance of an above-normal season. That includes 14-21 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes.
According to Rosencrans, the previous record was three consecutive above-normal seasons, 2010-2012.
To put that into context, the Atlantic has been in a period of high activity since 1995. The previous known period of high activity was between 1950 and 1971.
“You’re not imagining it’s been busier. It has actually been busier,” he said.
Before hitting Florida, the storm killed at least three people in Cuba, where it knocked out power across the island.
Days after Ian carved a path of destruction from Florida to the Carolinas, the dangers persisted and even worsened in some places. It was clear the road to recovery from this monster storm will be long and painful.
Ian doused Virginia with rain Sunday, and officials warned that major flooding was possible.
About 600,000 homes and businesses in Florida remained without electricity on Monday morning, down from a peak of 2.6 million, but DeSantis is still politicizing Florida’s response to Hurricane Ian.
DeSantis whipsawed his way through the national conversation this month, first by sending migrants to Democratic strongholds and then downplaying the influence of the climate crisis after one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. barreled through his state.
Consequently, President Joe Biden did not call DeSantis — a Republican running for reelection in November — instead he phoned mayors in the state about the storm, and dealt directly with those responsible for frontline relief efforts.
“So I have not personally spoken with the president, but FEMA has approved our pre-landfall request,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis castigated a reporter for “politicizing” the response to Hurricane Ian rather than answering tough questions about why Republicans keep denying the fact that burning fossil fuels causes global warming and makes storms stronger and more frequent.