Relieved About Hurricane Barry? Don’t Be, Because This Is the New Normal

hurricane barry

Photo by Chris Granger

If you like living in New Orleans and south Louisiana (or, if you have no other choice) the smartest thing you can do right now is this:

Take that Dead Man Walking feeling that was squeezing your emotions last week as Hurricane Barry played coy with your future, put it in a bottle, cork it tightly and place it on your kitchen table right next to the following headline from CNN: New Orleans faces a never-before-seen problem with Tropical Storm Barry.

 And every morning un-cork that bottle, inhale deeply, read that headline and repeat these words: This is our new normal.

That “never-before-seen problem” was the approach of a hurricane while the Mississippi River was at flood stage. For as long as records have been kept, the river almost always hits flood stage in the spring and is at its lowest around July, when hurricane season gets rolling.

That timing made living here possible, because hurricane storm surge arriving during flood season could push an already high river over its levees, drowning the city with Mississippi water and mud.

And, of course, that would be happening as torrential rains and roof-ripping hurricane force winds were whipping through the region. If that was a regular possibility, New Orleans would never have endured.

So we didn’t just dodge a bullet last week; we dodged the A-bomb.

But here’s what you should understand: The odds of that deadly combination rolling up again are increasing rapidly because our world continues to heat the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.

Read the rest of the article at The Times-Picayune.