Floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other human-caused disasters made 2017 a hard year to beat. But environmental journalists would do well to be prepared for 2018. This week's TipSheet explains why predicting weather-related disasters may not be as hard you think, and provides resources to get reporters ready.
Central America & the Caribbean
Almost a dozen investigations are underway at the U.S. EPA and the Interior Department, including of unusual travel, private sector connections and staff/advisory panel moves. This week's TipSheet runs down the probes in detail, and offers resources for coverage of developments in 2018.
The threat of failing dams can prompt worries over lost lives and property, as witness hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. But dam failure is a problem environmental journalists can get ahead of, and the latest TipSheet helps you get ready — with questions to ask, sources to pursue and resources to bone up on. Plus, more hurricane coverage resources.
"SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Thousands of Puerto Ricans heeded the calls of government officials and have taken refuge in shelters as the Caribbean island braces for Hurricane Maria's direct hit early Wednesday."
"Hurricane Maria, once again a Category 5 hurricane, has its sights set on a potentially catastrophic strike on the already storm-weary Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, following a first-on-record Category 5 landfall for the island of Dominica Monday night."
"The tiny two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean faced its third hurricane watch in two weeks as forecasters announced on Saturday the formation of Tropical Storm Maria, which was expected to strengthen to a hurricane."
"Hurricane Irma hammered a string of northeast Caribbean islands, thrashing them with rain and winds of up to 180 mph, and leaving at least nine people dead."
"Hurricane Irma, packing winds of 185 m.p.h., made landfall in Barbuda, an island of about 2,000 people, around 2 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said."
It's a deadly threat only fitfully reported by news media. But coverage of insect-borne diseases could be improved by environmental journalists who understand the intersection of bugs, humans and climate. A two-part Issue Backgrounder with basics, key resources and a rundown on significant illnesses brought by mosquitoes, and by ticks and other insects.
"One. That is the total number of locally transmitted Zika cases confirmed in the continental United States this year, as of mid-August. That single case, recorded on 26 July in Hidalgo County in Texas, which borders Mexico, contrasts with hundreds of cases of local transmission last year."