Wall St struggles for direction as Irma threatens Florida

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"Investors are really in a wait-and-see mode given their concern about the impact of Hurricane Irma on Florida and wherever else it ends up going", said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St Louis.

The S&P 500 was near flat on Friday as investors braced for potential damage from Hurricane Irma as it moved toward Florida and assessed the financial impact of Hurricane Harvey. And a new danger lay on the horizon to the east: Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm with 150 miles per hour winds that could punish some of the devastated areas all over again.

All three churches were damaged during Hurricane Harvey, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Earlier Friday, Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a category four hurricane, but remains "extremely risky", according to the National Hurricane Center. There is a theoretical maximum intensity for storms in certain environments, he said, and Irma is "pushing that limit". Warm air can hold more water: water vapour is predicted to increase by 7% for every degree centigrade of warming so when hurricanes hit, they bring much more rain meaning more flooding. Our local area has experienced effects of tropical storms in recent years, as well as Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

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Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, said this was the first time there had been two hurricanes in the Atlantic with speeds topping 150mph. He's right - how many more super storms must we endure, with great cost to lives, homes and jobs - before we accept that climate change takes normal storms and makes them more intense.

"That more progressive movement will help to limit extreme rainfall totals", he said.

The rise in global sea levels means there will be more destructive storm surges, he said, and a warmer ocean surface puts more moisture into the atmosphere. "We see them playing out in real time, and this last couple weeks is a stunning example of that".

Despite this obvious evidence of climate change, climate change "skeptics" and deniers have continued to argue that there is no scientific evidence proving climate change.

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