Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Storms go way back

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In his Oct. 31 column, Sandy's rage not linked to climate change, Blake Hounshell (Oct. 31) should have also pointed out that the North American East Coast can trace such storms to at least as far back as 1635, when human activity couldn't have had any influence on weather.

More recently, in 1938, the New York area and New England experienced a violent hurricane nicknamed the Long Island Express. It killed nearly 800 and caused more than $40 billion in damages in inflation-adjusted numbers.

Had Sandy struck 2,000 kilometres north on the coast of Labrador, it would have received barely passing mention. But because it hit the most populous zone in the Western Hemisphere, such widespread damage was inevitable.

Just as tornadoes have been annual events on the American Great Plains for millennia, climate history shows violent tropical storms have always been a fact of life on the U.S. gulf and east coasts, in the western Pacific, and in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. In fact, 18 of the 30 deadliest storms on record have occurred before the 20th century.

 

EDWARD KATZ

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2012 A15

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