In the same interview, Trump objects to the idea that Hurricane Michael, or Hurricane Maria, or Hurricane Harvey, or Hurricane Irma, or Hurricane Florence is any indication of a growing threat by claiming that “the worst hurricane was 50 years ago, far worse than what this one was. Then, in 1890, they had one that was even worse.” The 1890 storm that Trump is referring to is presumably the storm that actually struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900. While that storm produced a record number of fatalities, it was likely a Category 4 storm and carried a pressure rating of around 936 millibars, which would not even put it in the top twenty of intense storms striking the United States. In just the last two years, Michael, Maria, and Irma were all more intense storms. It was building standards and the lack of effective warning that made that storm so deadly as it carried a high surge into low-lying areas unprotected at that time by sea walls or barrier islands.
Trump also claims that “We’ve gone through a period, actually, fairly recently, where we have very few.” By which Trump presumably means that nothing has yet hit Mar-a-Lago.
What Trump paints as “a period where we had relatively few” was actually a period in which the number of intense storms was far higher than it had been in most past decades. The 2000s actually had a far greater number of highly intense storms than any previous decade, and while the 2010s may be lagging behind … they’re not over yet. Just the first eight years of this decade has generated a number of intense storms equal to any other decade other than the 2000s.
Trump’s history of storms is no more accurate than his “instinct for science” and both of them are likely to be directly responsible for far more deaths than the worst hurricane. Typhoon Donald is blowing away more than buildings and even more than lives—it’s blowing away the future.
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