Why slower cyclones are bad news for us

Why slower cyclones are bad news for us

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey's torrential rains, which dumped several feet of water on sections of Houston, Texas, last August, scientists showed that warmer sea and air temperatures pumped more moisture into the storm-which then fell as rain.

The first tropical storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season formed well off the coast of Mexico on Wednesday, AP reported, as forecasters said it's not a threat to land.

The study in the journal Nature, finds a 10 percent slowdown in storm speed between 1949 and 2016.

The center said the storm was likely to strengthen some more as it moved farther out into the Pacific, but predicted Aletta would begin weakening Saturday.

"Long-duration or slower-moving storms, even when weaker, can have exacerbated impacts through prolonged wind exposure [in addition to] flooding", according to Colin Zarzycki, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research who was not involved with the study.

Kossin's research discovered the slowdown in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres and in every ocean basin except the North Indian Ocean.

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According to NOAA, inland flooding accounts for more than 50% of hurricane-related deaths each year. It said the storm was forecast to keep moving out into the Pacific.

"Roughly 7 percent more water vapor per degree C of warming", Kossin said. "I just need more convincing that there actually has been a 10 percent motion change".

Scientists expect climate change is going to make tropical cyclones - including hurricanes - more severe.

But Kossin, in his paper, writes that he wouldn't expect big changes in his results due to different means of measurement, since "estimates of tropical-cyclone position should be comparatively insensitive to such changes".

Although commending the study for its findings, she said it is not without its limitations.

"Probably the amount of rainfall, in terms of mortality risk, is probably the most unsafe thing associated with the slowing", Kossin said. "And, unfortunately, this signal would point to more freshwater flooding".

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