Hurricane Wilma breaks records

Feature story - 21 October, 2005
After Katrina, Rita, and Stan, Hurricane Wilma has left another trail of devastation through the Caribbean, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Western Cuba and Florida.

Man braves flood waters in his destroyed village during the aftermath of Hurricane Stan. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands left homeless by extensive flooding in Mexico.

Mexico and Florida were hardest hit by Wilma. Mexico has just suffered extensiveflooding, landslides and loss of life due to Hurricane Stan. OnWednesday 19 Oct, Wilma was measured as the strongest hurricane everyrecorded. The 2005 North Atlantic hurricane season has been one of themost intense since records began in 1851. Only 1969 had as manyhurricanes as this year.

Out of names

Apparently the body responsible for naming hurricanes will have tostart with the Greek alphabet if there is a new hurricane this season,having run out of suitable letters in the alphabet to name hurricanesin 2005.

Unparalleled destruction due to hurricanes and the Amazon Rainforestsuffering severe drought might be providing a little peek into ourfuture shaped by global warming. A warmer world will experience manymore extreme weather events like droughts, storms and floods.

According to the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,hurricanes are predicted to continue becoming more intense and moredamaging, with stronger winds and more rain - because of globalwarming. Extreme weather has been around long before humans startedheating up the planet - but we cannot afford to stand by whilehurricanes - the most extreme storms on the planet, gather strength.

While hurricanes and droughts hit the headlines and thousands of peoplelose their lives there is strangely little news about the urgentinternational action required to tackle global warming.

Global gamble

We could wait with our fingers crossed, hoping the worst of thepredictions don't come true, although with every passing week, eventsand the evidence stack up to suggest it's the worst possible option forthe planet.

The solutions are here - clean renewable energy and energy efficiencymeasures can be implemented now and this must be better than taking agamble with the planet - as the last few weeks have shown we wouldcertainly lose that gamble, big time.