Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Tropical Storm Franklin leaves a body count and damage in the Caribbean » Yale Climate Connections

Tropical Storm Franklin is heading out into the Atlantic, but the damage done to Haiti and the Dominican Republic is just beginning to come to light.

A weather station near the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo registered 330.7 millimeters of rain (approximately 1.1 feet), according to the National Office of Meteorology’s Division of Hydrometeorology (ONAMET) in the Dominican Republic.

“The accumulated rainfall left over the Dominican Republic by #Franklin were extreme. The data and maps show that in the southeast and southwest regions they were the largest,” said Wagner Rivera, a meteorologist at ONAMET on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Franklin made landfall in the Baharona province of the Dominican Republic around 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, and continued to make its way across the country throughout the day, causing severe flooding in some areas, damaging roads, and killing at least three people.

As of Thursday night, Aug. 24, more than 1 million residents remained without running water after the storm, and homes were abandoned due to flooding damage, according to the newspaper Diario Libre. On Friday, some communities around the capital were still underwater.

The Ministry of Public Health warned DR residents that there is a likelihood of an increase in sicknesses related to exposure to contaminated water, such as cholera, and vector-borne diseases, such as dengue.

Climate change is not increasing the overall number of hurricanes, but it is increasing their intensity, according to World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who quantify how climate change influences the intensity and likelihood of an extreme weather event through weather data and computer modeling. Climate change can influence hurricanes in multiple ways, including warmer water temperatures — this year further exacerbated by El Niño — and more moisture in the air due to hotter air temperatures.

YouTube video

“For every degree Centigrade you warm the oceans, you put about 7% more moisture in the atmosphere, so that means the rains you get from any storm … you can expect to be 7% more,” said Yale Climate Connections meteorologist Jeff Masters in a recent Eye on the Storm video. “It turns out you can get something even larger than that because as you put more heat energy into the storm — more moisture — when that moisture condenses it releases the heat that it took to evaporate it in the first place, which energizes the storm and makes it bigger.”

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