Hurricane season begins on June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a strong likelihood that the next seven months will bring an above-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes. According to NOAA, it’s the seventh consecutive above-normal season.
As ocean waters warm due to human-caused climate change, storms are forming faster and more frequently—and causing historic damage across vulnerable coastal communities. It’s impossible to know exactly how many there will be in a given season, or where they’ll hit. But we do know they will disproportionately impact low-wealth communities, communities of color, renters, the elderly and disabled, and other historically underserved and oppressed people.
Advocates across the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts have spent months preparing for what may come. They’re working in communities often failed by federal and state agencies—communities still recovering from storms that stretch back one, two, even five years: Laura, Delta, Ida, Florence, Harvey, and Michael.
In this ongoing series, Southerly talks with disaster preparedness and recovery advocates about the work they’re doing—and the work that’s still left—in low-wealth communities, rural regions, and BIPOC communities most at risk of climate change and extreme weather.