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Report: Hurricane Planning Needs to Change

August 21, 2008

Miami, FL – Climate change has changed the way hurricanes do their damage, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. The study links climate change to rising wind speeds and increased flooding, and makes recommendations for planning to protect people and property, as well as reducing pollution associated with climate change.

Climate scientist Dr. Amanda Staudt wrote the report, and says Hurricane Fay fits right in with new hurricane rain predictions.

"The models are showing a 10 to 31 percent increase over this century because warmer air holds more moisture. In addition, we have rising sea levels."

Dr. Staudt says knowing that hurricanes are becoming more powerful and wet can help in setting up a line of defense.

"Restoring and increasing the protection for coastal wetlands, lowlands and barrier islands that provide the first line of defense against hurricanes. We need to take global warming into account when we choose where and how we build."

Dr. Staudt says that as many Floridians still grapple with remnants of Hurricane Fay, the report can be used as a blueprint to help people and communities prepare for storms, and as a guide for reducing pollution associated with climate change.

Not all scientists associate hurricanes with climate change; some say the weather patterns follow bigger historic trends not related to global warming.

To view the full report online, visit www.nwf.org.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - FL