This article discusses the links between hurricanes and climate change. In Defense of Politicizing Hurricanes – There’s nothing wrong with tying unfolding tragedies to climate change.
Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday with winds of 155 miles per hour, just shy of Category 5 strength—the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida’s panhandle in recorded history. It will also serve as an “October surprise” in the upcoming midterm elections in Florida, where the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, is in a tight race for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.
Politically, the hurricane stands to benefit Scott far more than Nelson. As a sitting governor, Scott can more easily show leadership during a crisis, which voters are proven to reward. He’s been doing just that: The New York Times reported on Monday that Scott “has been darting from one county emergency operations center to the next for closed-door meetings and somber news conferences.” It’s a familiar and perhaps comforting sight for Floridians, as Scott has presided over three hurricanes and six tropical storms during his tenure. This week, Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties; activated 1,250 members of the Florida National Guard; and waived tolls to allow coastal residents to evacuate more quickly.