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The House votes to condemn President Trump’s attacks on women of color in Congress as racist. Also on our Wednesday rundown: A new report forecasts big losses for some states if the ACA is repealed. And a corporate call to flex muscle to close the gender pay gap.

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Hurricane Season: Six "Big Ones" Predicted

Photo: Hurricane Irene made landfall on the coast of North Carolina as a Category 1 storm during the 2011 season. Courtesy
Photo: Hurricane Irene made landfall on the coast of North Carolina as a Category 1 storm during the 2011 season. Courtesy
June 10, 2013

MIAMI - Hurricane season is underway for Florida and other east-coast and southern states, and experts predict as many as three times the number of major hurricanes this season as in years past. Some scientists blame extreme temperatures and rising sea levels brought about by global warming for the increased strength of the storms.

According to Dr. Leonard Berry, director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, a surprise storm like last October's Hurricane Sandy could have a devastating impact on Florida.

"The major thing we face is a bit like super storm Sandy, that every small change in sea level compounds the impact of any particular strength of hurricane on the coast."

Carbon emissions are a primary factor thought to cause global warming. Environmental groups are calling on President Obama to finalize pollution standards for new industrial power plants, an action he promised in his State of the Union address.

Dr. Michael Mann, author of the book "Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars," said there's no question that industrial pollution is adding to the problem of global warming and putting our coastlines at risk as hurricane season begins.

"We have added enough CO2, carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere through fossil fuel burning and other human activities, that we've raised Earth's temperature about a degree and a half."

He also noted that rising temperatures are melting glaciers and causing a rise in sea levels. Leonard Berry predicts as much as a 24-inch rise in sea level by the year 2060 in Florida.

Reducing carbon emissions to help slow global warming and reduce the risk of rising sea levels is particularly important in Florida, said Berry, because every inch the water rises makes a big difference.

"Much of the coastline is so flat that any small change in sea level with a combination of the storm waves and storm surge can create totally new circumstances than the last storm."

The large number of high-rise buildings in the Sunshine State further complicates the risk of hurricane damage. A study done in 2007 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development named Miami as the number-one city in the world when it comes to real estate at risk in the event of a major storm.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL