For Immediate Release, May 30, 2019

Contact:

Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, jlopez@biologicaldiversity.org

2019 Hurricane Predictions Spell Disaster for Coastal Communities, Wildlife

Trump Administration's Climate Change Denial Fuels Bigger Disasters

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially starts on Saturday, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting a total of nine to 15 named storms and as many as four major hurricanes.

The 2019 season begins even as communities and wildlife across the United States — from Puerto Rico to North Carolina — continue to suffer the disastrous effects of the past two hurricane seasons.

“The Trump administration’s reckless denial of climate change is fueling disastrous storm damage to coastal communities and wildlife,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Climate change makes these storms more destructive, and the risks are rising quickly. The longer the fossil fuel addicts running this administration keep their heads buried in the sand, the less time we have to protect ourselves.”

In the 2018 hurricane season Hurricane Michael destroyed 5 million acres of pine and hardwood habitat in Florida and Georgia. Hurricane Florence caused 7.3 million gallons of untreated hog manure and tons of toxic coal ash to be released in North Carolina.

During the 2017 hurricane season Hurricane Irma left 200 endangered Florida Key deer dead or missing; Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico, killing thousands of people; and Hurricane Harvey caused nearly 1 million pounds of deadly air-pollution discharges from Texas refineries.

In just two seasons these hurricanes killed more than 3,000 people and caused $343 billion in damage.

NOAA’s 2019 prediction forecasts a 40 percent chance of a “near-normal” season and a 30 percent change of an above-normal season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and three becoming major hurricanes.

Damages from these major hurricane systems are worsened by climate change, which increases the intensity of hurricanes and increases rainfall, making storms more destructive. Storm damage is compounded by climate-driven sea-level rise.

“This administration’s wrong-headed policies are creating climate refugees right here in the United States,” said Lopez. “Every major hurricane underscores how badly we need strong leadership, committed to cutting greenhouse pollution and reducing the harm from sea-level rise.”

President Donald Trump is trying to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. His Federal Emergency Management Agency refuses to take into account sea-level rise in floodplain mapping used to implement the National Flood Insurance Program. And federal lawmakers have failed to pass any meaningful comprehensive climate change legislation or reform the bankrupt and broken National Flood Insurance Program. .

Key Deer
Key deer photo courtesy USFWS. This image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.