By: Rebecca Turco


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Some people are raising the question of whether climate change played a role in Hurricane Harvey.

“Some signatures that we see in Hurricane Harvey that could be related to climate change," said Isaac Ginis, hurricane expert at the University of Rhode Island.

Local scientists say it's too soon to tell, but that in some ways, Harvey could be a sign of things to come: future storms dumping much more rain than the same size storms did in the pass.

What we do know is warmer water means more intense storms, and warmer air can produce more rain.

"We anticipate that it's up to [a] 20, 30 percent increase of rain in the future climate," said Ginis.

Brown University Oceanographer Baylor Fox-Kemper tells ABC6 News what climate change does is change the odds for hurricanes and major storms. "Rather than a one in maybe 1,800 year event, you have a one in 300 year event - which is still extremely unlikely, which means a lot had to go wrong for something to happen like this," said Fox-Kemper.

Even so, Fox-Kemper and Ginis say you can never be too ready. "Hurricane Harvey should be a good reminder for us that we're on a still significant risk of hurricanes in Rhode Island and we do need to be prepared."

Thursday is the 63rd anniversary of Hurricane Carol, the last major hurricane to make landfall in Rhode Island.

© WLNE-TV 2017