Cuba’s north coast is dealing with flooded streets, high winds, and power outages after a strong cold front hit the country.
Temperatures dropped to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) in Cuba on Tuesday, significantly cooler than the average daytime temperature of 71 F (28 C) in February, according to Weather and Climate.
With that cold weather came wind gusts up to 62 mph, according to Reuters, and Havana’s streets were submerged by seawater as massive waves struck the coastline.
“At dawn, the water flowed through some city streets like coastal rivers, moving jellyfish, seaweed and flotsam several blocks landward,” Reuters reported.
Why is this concerning?
The city is vulnerable to the effects of intense storms, with fears that it and other low-lying areas could soon disappear if sea levels continue to rise as a result of global heating.
Reuters cited the U.N. Development Programme, which said 2.2 million inhabitants are at risk from rising water levels.
Jaqueline Dalardes, who lives in Havana, issued a stark observation to Reuters while braving the weather.
“This really is something new,” she said. “The climate has changed and nature has changed due to human beings’ aggression against nature. This is the answer to what we’re experiencing today, not only in Cuba but in all countries. … We’re not used to this kind of cold.”
Global heating is leading to longer and more intense storms, and Cuba is likely to experience more of these deadly weather events if temperatures worldwide continue to rise.
What can be done about the risks Cuba is facing?
The island nation is at serious risk, not only from rising water but also from an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation.
According to the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal, agriculture, forestry, and tourism could be hit hard, and those areas are essential for the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, the availability of freshwater is also a concern. With help from UNESCO, the Cuban government is looking to mitigate the impact of drought and flooding that affects these supplies.
As part of this strategy, the country is set to use electric cars in the nationwide water resources management system because dirty-fuel-powered cars are a notable producer of planet-warming pollution.
It might seem counterintuitive to highlight the cold in Cuba when talking about global heating, but the latter phenomenon doesn’t always mean hotter weather. A warming Arctic could be responsible for cold-weather events elsewhere, a study in Journal Science, summarized by the World Economic Forum, detailed.
That’s why, no matter where in the world you are, reducing the production of pollution that traps heat in the atmosphere is essential.
Driving an electric car is one way to help, but eating more plant-based meals can reduce the pollution caused by agricultural meat production, while embracing sustainable power sources, such as wind and solar, can significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.