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Global warming labeled as cause of increased typhoons

Date Posted: 2004-10-01

Four disastrous hurricanes in Florida in a month, and four killer typhoons in the Western Pacific so far this season.

Twenty-one typhoons altogether, and the season still has two full months to run.

Weather experts now are saying the situation is becoming more dangerous because of global warming. The danger level is higher than ever, they say, and a look at the statistics of the past 10 years support them.

The United Nations World Disaster Report counts 7,100 hurricanes and 6,740 typhoons during the period. The report calls the incidents unusual in historical context. What should happen only once in a century is now happening with frequency. Floods, typhoons, hurricanes, drought, heat and fires used to be more the exception.

Now, with global warming, experts note areas like Japan, Okinawa and Florida are more frequently becoming victims. And the stress and strain is showing. People are tired, and wanting it to end.

In Okinawa, the last typhoons even took their toll on school sports festivals, called Undokai. The annual events are important; they rank alongside family reunions as the most significant events of the year, bringing family and friends to the schools to watch the childrens’ performances. It’s more than the running, dancing and tournaments themselves. It’s the family memories that are engrained.

Now, they’re not happening. School events have been cancelled thanks to typhoons Songda and Meari, and they’re probably not to be rescheduled.

Tourists, too, are weary. “Oh no. Not again!” exclaimed one. “How often should Okinawa get typhoons? When can we go back home?” The tourists are also frustrated they’ve not had time to do their shopping.

The Prefecture Govenrment says tourism was down 15% in August, and are expressing disappointment that the September figures—which include Typhoons Songda and Meari’s wrath—will be down as well.

Count the fishermen who are becoming fed up as well. They’re tired, and losing money by not getting their boats onto the ocean waters.

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