BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – One year ago, Hurricane Ida made landfall in southeast Louisiana on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A lot of research is being done to understand how storms are changing with the climate.
Over the last two years, Louisiana has been rocked by powerful hurricanes. Research is showing the rapid intensification of hurricanes becoming more common. LSU Professor Jill Trepanier said storms aren’t dying out closer to shore like they used to.
“We rarely see Cat 1’s last above the I-10 line but yet we see them more today than we did before,” Trepanier said. “That is a question of climate change, is it related to a changing climate? I don’t know the answer to that yet but we are actively trying to figure it out.”
She said with the stronger storms expected with warmer temperatures creating the energy for bigger storms, infrastructure will need to reflect that to weather hurricanes.
“We are experiencing new normals. This idea of really impressively rapidly intensifying hurricanes. They’re growing and they’re becoming beasts faster than they ever used to. That’s a product of having extra heat,” Trepanier said.
The fortified levee in New Orleans kept the city from flooding in Ida, but it is already sinking.
“So it’s sinking and it’s not going to be as useful as it was as we hoped for 50 years, maybe 15. It will have to be reinforced to get built back up to code so it’s high enough,” Trepanier said. “In the southwestern part of the state, we don’t have any of that.”
When asked if climate change is making these storms worse, Trepanier said most theories and research show the climate is always changing.
“But the speed at which we are changing today is unrivaled in all the climate proxy records that we have,” Trepanier said.
She said with each big storm the state learns better ways to prepare for the next – and hopes that work can continue to be done.