Climate change making storms worse than expected

As the ground around New York City continues to shift from an unseasonably warm springtime to a fierce late summer day, with sky-high humidity, experts are adjusting their forecast predictions with the change in environmental conditions.

Since the second snowstorm of the season hit the city on Sunday, many experts have seen a significant increase in tree limb and other storm-related damage, according to Erika Almiron, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, as seen in the Twitter map below.

The combination of the extreme moisture in the air combined with a high storm surge have produced a variety of storm-related impacts, including flood damage and the possibility of downed power lines and debris.

Unfortunately, the situation could get worse in the coming days as a high pressure system is expected to move across the Northeast, creating a similarly dry and humid mix.

Andrew Natsios, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, noted the heavy rainfall with such a change in climate patterns can make day-to-day cleanup efforts quite challenging.

“We’ve had to move aggressively to mitigate the storm impact,” Natsios said. “When it’s 85 degrees, there’s nowhere to put the rain.”

To cope with the current weather conditions, some utilities have been conducting aerial assessments of damage. However, even with aerial imagery, predicting the nature of damage can be difficult, Almiron said.

“With these types of extremes in the environment, predicting the damage can be quite challenging,” Almiron said. “These conditions vary from company to company, but you will definitely see a change in the direction of things [as the weather develops].”

Still, some restoration efforts have already started. Several nursing homes in New York City have begun lining up generators to power their large outdoor pools, the Associated Press reported, as electric company Consolidated Edison prepared a plan to cut power to some residents and neighborhoods where trees are falling on power lines.

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