On Jan. 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was the most expensive year on record for disasters in the United States, totaling $316 billion, with the bulk of the cost coming from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 2017 is the most expensive disaster year since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Extreme weather is becoming more and more common around the country. Temperatures are reaching unprecedented highs and lows, and hurricanes and flooding are doing more damage. This weather is fueled by climate change. Warmer water temperatures trigger rising sea levels, driving storm surges, and warmer air holds more moisture and dumps more rain during storms.

Here in Maine, extreme weather is occurring; last week schools and cities closed due to large amounts of snowfall.

We need to take action on climate now to ensure as little weather-related devastation in the future as possible. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King must fight to protect Maine’s environment. We must act to protect our environment now to prevent extreme weather from occurring more frequently in the future.

Jacqueline Guyol

Portland