Slow-moving Hurricane Harvey, which shattered the Texas coast last year near Houston and left much of it underwater, might be the model for hurricanes in the future.
Federal researchers recently completed a computer-simulation analysis of how 22 recent storms would have developed and behaved in the warmer waters and air expected to dominate the atmosphere by the end of the century.
The results suggest the storms would move slower, have stronger winds and drop a lot more rain.
"Hurricane Harvey demonstrated last year just how dangerous that can be," said National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Ethan Gutmann, who led the study.
Harvey blasted into Texas with 130 mph winds as it entered the state at 10 mph. Within hours, it had slowed to 3 mph or slower and began what meteorologists called a meander along the Texas coast.
The meander lasted for four days, and the storm deluged coastal communities by dropping more than 5 feet of rain.
At least 68 people died, according to the National Hurricane Center.
South Carolina is still reeling from three years and hundreds of millions of dollars of flooding and damage spurred by hurricanes or tropical storms that were weaker and moved quicker than Harvey. Last year, Harvey was part of a series of the most destructive storms in recorded history and raked states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast.
The federal study "makes sense," said Charleston-based meteorologist Shea Gibson, with the WeatherFlow private forecasting company.
"Harvey is a prime example," he said, of what may come.