Skip to main content

Storm season is in full swing in the US, from Alaska to Puerto Rico

Storm season is in full swing in the US, from Alaska to Puerto Rico

/

‘What we’re seeing is tragedy unravel once again’

Share this story

A flooded road is seen during the passage of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico, on September 18, 2022.
A flooded road is seen during the passage of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico, on September 18th, 2022.
Photo by JOSE RODRIGUEZ / AFP via Getty Images

The US was caught in the crosshairs of both the Atlantic hurricane and Pacific typhoon seasons over the weekend, which saw storms deal heavy blows to communities across both Puerto Rico and Alaska.

More than 1.3 million customers are still without power in Puerto Rico today after Hurricane Fiona tore through the island on Sunday. Fiona’s heavy rains are forecast to bring more “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding,” mudslides, and landslides to Puerto Rico today before the storm moves on to batter other parts of the Caribbean.

Much of Alaska’s western coastline, meanwhile, is reeling from the damage wrought by an unusual Northern Pacific storm that barreled through the state on Saturday. The storm, remnants of Typhoon Merbok, swept entire homes off their foundations. The National Weather Service described it as the “strongest storm in over a decade” to move over the Bering Sea.

September marks the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially lasts from June through November, so the Caribbean, Gulf Coast, and Eastern US are right in the thick of it. Typhoon season in the western North Pacific usually lasts from May to November. The US doesn’t usually have to worry so much about storms churning so far away in the Pacific, but this time, it did.

Of course, it’s not just the US enduring these brutal storm seasons. Millions of people were forced to evacuate Sunday as Typhoon Nanmadol pounded western Japan. The storm weakened Monday but still hit the nation with damaging winds and heavy rainfall.

With climate change, storms worldwide are becoming more unpredictable. At the same time, that lack of predictability is getting all too familiar. It’s too soon still for studies that can pinpoint exactly what role climate change played in either of the two storms that hit opposite areas of the US. But climate scientists already know that warmer ocean waters are fueling more dangerous storms when it comes to their strength and their ability to catch communities off guard.

Typhoon Merbok took shape in an area of the Pacific that’s typically too cold to churn up a typhoon, according to Alaska climate specialist Rick Thoman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The storm happened to travel through waters warmer than they have been for about the past century, Thoman writes in The Conversation.

“There’s a strong likelihood that Merbok was able to form where it did because of the warming ocean,” Thoman wrote in The Conversation. “Had the ocean been a temperature more typical of 1960, there wouldn’t have been as much moisture in the storm.”

When it comes to lessons learned from this storm for Alaska, Thoman writes, “As bad as this storm was, and it was very bad, others will be coming.” The storm targeted more isolated communities in rural parts of the state, Thoman notes, that officials need to get better at reaching.

Whether or not the lights come back on in Puerto Rico in the coming hours and days will show what kinds of lessons officials have learned since Hurricane Maria plunged the island into darkness in 2017. This week’s blackouts are a painful reminder of the catastrophe that unfolded there after the hurricane made landfall almost 5 years ago to the day on September 20th. Power outages lingered for 11 awful months, making it the longest blackout in US history. At the time, local leaders and emergency response experts criticized federal agencies for a bungled response to a crisis that took place in a US territory, compared to responses to similar disasters on the mainland.

“What we’re seeing is tragedy unravel once again,” San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said in a Democracy Now! interview today. “We’re seeing it again in front of our eyes.”

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

E
Twitter
Emma RothTwo hours ago
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


R
External Link
Russell BrandomTwo hours ago
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther Wang12:00 PM UTC
R
Youtube
Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.


E
External Link
Emma Roth4:13 PM UTC
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.


A
External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins3:37 PM UTC
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.


J
James Vincent3:17 PM UTC
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.


Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
J
The Verge
James Vincent3:03 PM UTC
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.


E
External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto2:41 PM UTC
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


R
The Verge
Richard Lawler2:09 PM UTC
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.


R
The Verge
Richard Lawler1:00 PM UTC
Green light.

Good morning to everyone, except for the intern or whoever prevented us from seeing how Microsoft’s Surface held up to yet another violent NFL incident.

Today’s big event is the crash of a NASA spaceship this evening — on purpose. Mary Beth Griggs can explain.


D
David Pierce12:54 PM UTC
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”