When Hurricane Harvey swept through South Texas last month, it inundated Houston and the surrounding coastline, displaced thousands, flattened homes and killed scores of residents. President Donald Trump tweeted about the “HISTORIC rainfall in Houston” and the “unprecedented” flooding brought by Harvey, which set a continental U.S. record with more than 51 inches of rain.
A couple weeks later, Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean and up the Florida coast, setting its own records as one of the most powerful and longest-lasting storms of its kind. The president called the storm “of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen.” In Irma’s aftermath, dozens have been reported dead.
And then Hurricane Maria, following in Irma’s wake, swept over Puerto Rico, decimating homes and knocking out power to the entire island.
The collective cost from Harvey and Irma could be as much as $200 billion, while the extent of Maria’s damage is still being tallied.
But will these storms trigger a Pearl Harbor moment in the politics of climate change? It is simply too soon to know for sure.
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