Hurricane Irma is gathering strength over the Atlantic Ocean as it heads towards the Caribbean. Already rated Category 5, it is expected to make landfall in Florida by the end of the week, with many worried about a repeat of the havoc caused in Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey.
None of that seems to worry Rush Limbaugh.
On Monday, the right-wing radio personality delivered a customarily freewheeling monologue in which he seemed to suggest that hurricanes were a liberal conspiracy intended to convince the public that climate change is real.
Limbaugh is not a meteorologist, as he acknowledges at the opening of the monologue, before proceeding to muse on meteorology. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Limbaugh is a resident of Palm Beach, Florida, and the hurricane-themed monologue appeared to be driven by his observation that bottled water had already been sold out in local stores, in preparation for Irma’s imminent landfall.
“The reason that I am leery of forecasts this far out, folks, is because I see how the system works,” Limbaugh said, alluding to alleged conspiracies against President Donald J. Trump. “Hurricane Harvey and the TV pictures that accompany that go a long way to helping further and create the panic.”
Hurricane Harvey flooded 50 counties, killed 63 people and displaced more than a million. Limbaugh did not offer evidence of how any of this was a conspiracy by the “Deep State,” environmentalists or other groups that might presumably want to exaggerate the storm’s devastation.
The crux of Limbaugh’s argument was that “in the official meteorological circles, you have an abundance of people who believe that man-made climate change is real. And they believe that Al Gore is correct when he has written—and he couldn’t be more wrong—that climate change is creating more hurricanes and stronger hurricanes.”
It is not clear what Limbaugh meant by “official meteorological circles.” Perhaps this is a reference to people who have studied meteorology and are experts in the field. Recently, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory published an extensive review that said it was “premature” to declare a causal link between human activity and hurricane strength. However, that same review said that “it is likely that climate warming will cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense globally and to have higher rainfall rates than…