BREAKING NEWS : Tornado warning issued for parts of Allen, Whitley and Huntington counties Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne police investigate shooting on Sherman Boulevard Full Story

Dire warnings to evacuate ahead of Florence

Officials along the coast of the Carolinas warn that this is the last chance to prepare and get out of Hurricane Florence's path. CNN's Martin Savidge reports.

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 6:01 PM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 6:06 PM

This past week the US military has been preparing for the aftermath of three storms: two in the Pacific and, of course, Hurricane Florence barreling in on the East Coast.

The Navy sortied dozens of ships out of harm's way. Those ships will be equipped and properly stocked to help needy communities on the ground if need be. The Coast Guard is preparing its helicopter and small boat fleet to rescue those in peril. And the National Guard in several states is being called up.

It will comfort many Americans to know their troops are ready to pitch in. This is common practice for our military, coming to the aid of communities when requested by local authorities to do so. Last year was no exception, as servicemen and women helped save lives, clear debris and rebuild after each of the major hurricanes we experienced.

I hope many Americans also understand that many of those same troops will be unable to comfort their own families, leaving them behind and very much in harm's way. I've had to do that myself, back in 1995, catching the last flight out of Pensacola to join my unit just as Hurricane Opal roared ashore. It's a tough thing to do. But, as an old Navy shipmate of mine reminded me today, it comes with the job.

"You prepare your family," he said. "You prepare your ship. Then, you prepare to support the country or our partners if they need our help. This is what hurricane season means for us."

He's right, of course. But I also hope hurricane season reminds us all -- not just the military, not just the Navy -- that we aren't fully prepared for the devastating impacts of climate change. And that lack of preparation is only getting more pronounced as the Trump administration continues to roll back years of responsible and bipartisan efforts to address the challenge.

Just this week, as the President warned people to stay out of Florence's path, his team is preparing to make it easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere. By a level of magnitude, methane is far more capable than carbon dioxide of trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Now, I just can hear the critics. We've been slammed by hurricanes for centuries, they'll say. They come and they go. Thunderstorms off the west coast of Africa move out over warm ocean water, where they run smack dab into converging equatorial winds. Those winds and that warm water fuel a heat exchange that sets it all spinning and -- boom, you've got a hurricane.

It's just nature, right? Inevitable.

Well, no. Not entirely. The water in that ocean is now warmer than it's ever been, fueling bigger, more -- and more frequent -- storms. Since 1972, there have been an average of six Atlantic hurricanes per year. Last year, there were 10. And we humans are much to blame for that.

"Human-induced climate change continues to warm the oceans," claims a recent study published in Earth's Future, an online scientific journal. "The resulting environment, including higher ocean heat content and sea surface temperatures, invigorates tropical cyclones to make them more intense, bigger, and longer lasting and greatly increases their flooding rains."

We're also paying a lot more money to recover from these things. A new estimate out Wednesday predicts Florence may well cost more than $170 billion in rebuilding costs alone. That would make it $45 billion more expensive than last year's Hurricane Harvey, which itself was second only in damages to Hurricane Katrina at $160 billion.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria cost a combined total of $265 billion. That's equal to almost one-third the Defense Department's budget for this year and just about as much as the 2019 budget requests of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and HUD -- combined.

Not to mention, of course, the loss of life. We now know that nearly 3,000 Puerto Rican residents were tragically killed by Hurricane Maria alone, making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in almost 15 years.

So, what to do about all this?

Well, yes, batten down the hatches. It's not likely to get any better any time soon, so people living in coastal areas need to make sure they are ready -- and for longer periods of time. We need to invest in better infrastructure: stronger bridges and abutments, better drainage, berms and levies. And we should continue to explore opportunities in renewable energy and encourage climate-healthy policies by our local governments, communities and businesses.

All this will cost more money, no question. But it's a pittance compared to the death and destruction we'll be paying for by ignoring the scientific evidence staring us plainly in the face.

It's not fake news. It's not a Chinese hoax. It's irrefutable.

According to last year's Global Change Research Program Climate Science special report, global temperature has increased by nearly 2.0°F (or 1.0°C) since the turn of the last century, making this the warmest period in the history of modern civilization. The previous three years alone were the warmest ever recorded on Planet Earth. That means more drought, more polar melting, more tidal flooding, more sea-level rise, more forest fires and, yes, more violent storms.

And make no mistake, climate change imparts real national security risk. More destructive weather patterns in various parts of the world mean more famine, more territorial grabs, more refugees and more instability our troops may be required to help alleviate.

The effort and resources we expend to help deal with climate-induced crises, while necessary and even altruistic, also drains resources and time away from other important military missions. To be sure, our troops train for humanitarian assistance and they're very good at it. No one should question the value of such capability. But when they're demonstrating that capability, they're not doing other things.

Then, too, is the threat to our military installations. I remember visiting Norfolk with then-Secretary of State John Kerry back in 2015. He boarded a warship pierside, where Navy officials walked him through all the extraordinary efforts they were taking to stem the effects of sea level rise right there on that base and in that port. It was serious. And it was sobering. By some estimates, the Hampton Roads area -- home to the biggest naval base in the world -- could see more than 12 inches of rising seawater between now and 2050.

Norfolk is by no means alone. A recent Defense Department climate impact study found that nearly half of 1,684 military sites reported damage from climate-related phenomena, calling it an "unacceptable impact" on military operations.

Kerry put his finger on it. "We have a moral responsibility to protect the future of our nation and our world," he said. "That is our charge. That is our duty. And for our shipmates, all of us, the generations that follow in their footsteps, we have to get this right."

Hurricane Florence is coming. That much is inevitable. We'll clean up. We'll rebuild. In the weeks and months to come, we'll all help the people of the Carolinas get back on their feet. We'll all be shipmates.

But we shouldn't be afraid or unwilling to take a longer, larger view of the bigger storm brewing out there. What shouldn't be inevitable is the devastating impact of climate change.

We still have time to get this right.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Isolated Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events