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Hurricane Florence could dump up to 40 inches of rain on parts of the Carolinas — here’s why the deluge may be so intense





  • Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm, is approaching the coast of the Carolinas. Its effects are expected to be felt in the area starting Thursday.
  • Forecasters predict the storm will slow down considerably as it approaches the shore, coming close to a standstill and dumping as much as 40 inches of rain.
  • That could prompt deadly floods.
  • Climate scientists say Florence’s behavior isn’t an anomaly — hurricanes are getting wetter and slower. Here’s why.

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing 125 mph winds, a life-threatening storm surge, and extremely heavy rain.

The storm’s center is expected to make landfall near the border between North and South Carolina. Its extreme winds and storm surge could be devastating, as a wall of water 13 feet high in some spots pushes its way into the shore.

But the worst impact of the storm may actually come from the rain.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that the storm will get stuck over North and South Carolina all weekend, stalling over portions of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia until Sunday morning. Projections suggest Florence will inch its way west over the weekend, with its eye taking two full days to drift from the coast into central North Carolina.

During that time, up to 40 inches of rain could fall over parts of North Carolina’s coast, prompting immense floods. Even areas as far inland as Charlotte and Raleigh could get up to 10 inches of rain.

Several factors are combining to create this worrisome situation: a high-pressure ridge of calmer weather is developing over the Ohio Valley, and ocean and air temperatures are higher than average.

Why Florence will get stuck

High-pressure ridges form when warm air in the upper atmosphere descends toward the Earth, making for clear, cloudless skies. This provides a natural barrier for swirling storms like Florence.

“Hurricanes cannot plow through regions of high pressure, they prefer to go around them,” James Done, an atmospheric scientist from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Business Insider in an email on Tuesday. “In this case, there’s not an easy way around this high pressure.”

So this weather system coming in from the west will essentially block Hurricane Florence from moving and dispersing, holding the massive, 73,000 square mile-wide storm in place over the Carolinas and Virginia.

The National Weather Service is warning that “thousands of homes and businesses will be filled with water” in the storm-affected area. Roads on wet ground will likely erode from underneath.



(Business Insider)

It’s similar to what happened last year when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Harvey was downgraded to a tropical depression when it made landfall — with winds of less than 39 mph — but it lingered for days, hanging over low-lying Houston and causing devastating flooding.

Hurricanes are becoming wetter

The second reason that Florence could bring deadly rainfall and flooding is part of a larger trend in hurricane development: storms are becoming wetter and more powerful as the oceans and air warm up.

Peak rain rates, which arrive when the fierce core of a storm is overhead, have increased 30% over the past 60 years, according Andreas Prein, a project scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.


This is due to greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, which trap more heat on the planet and make the air and oceans warmer as a result. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, and this allows storms to become stronger and produce more rain.

Hurricanes are also fed by warm ocean water, which pumps more heat and evaporating seawater up into a storm. The surface water in the ocean needs to be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for a hurricane to get swirling. (That’s why they don’t appear during the winter.) Currently, sea surface temperatures off the Carolinas are 3 or 4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average for this time of year, giving Florence more fuel than previous storms that hit the region.

Because Florence is trapped by that high-pressure ridge and likely to stick around over warmer water for longer, that could give the storm even more strength.

More powerful hurricanes also bring higher storm-surge levels, a problem that’s exacerbated by sea-level rise. Hurricane Florence’s storm surge could be as high as 13 feet in places like Cape Fear and Cape Lookout on the coast of North Carolina.

Hurricanes typically lose strength as they move over land, but the warmer air and water means there’s more energy available to fuel their destructive paths. When storms like Florence have more moisture to draw from, they maintain more strength as they move inland and hold in moisture for longer.

“Storms are going to move deeper inland and affect more people,” climate scientist Cindy Bruyere, who studies storms at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, recently told Business Insider. The trend means places where people aren’t used to being in the flood path could be inundated.

Eastern North Carolina has a moderate to high risk of flash floods as the storm arrives, but flash flooding is possible up into Maryland and the southeast corner of West Virginia, per National Weather Service.

Storms are getting sluggish

Stalled storms like Harvey — and potentially Florence — might represent a new normal, according to recent research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The analysis, done by by NOAA researcher James Kossin, shows that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms are moving more slowly over the Earth’s surface, especially over land. Storms slowed by an average of 10% from 1949 to 2016, that analysis found.

This cyclone slowdown is likely caused by changes in the circulation of Earth’s atmosphere due to climate change, Kossin said. Over the 67-year period he studied, the average global temperature rose by 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Stronger, wetter, slower storms are becoming a life-threatening consequence of living in a warmer world.

Read more of Business Insider’s hurricane coverage:


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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