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The president wouldn't be able to nuke a hurricane under a new bill

It's not a good idea to nuke a hurricane, anyway.
Credit: AP
This Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, GOES East satellite image provided by NASA taken at 20:30 UTC, shows the eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds. (NASA via AP)

WASHINGTON — There was a bit of hubbub last summer when Axios reported President Donald Trump suggested to his national security officials that they look at the possibility of launching nuclear weapons at hurricanes.

Trump, who called the story "fake news," apparently questioned bombing a hurricane in the past. The government since the late 1950s even studied the idea and determined it wouldn't be a good idea for many reasons.

In an attempt to put a stop to it, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, introduced the "Climate Change and Hurricane Correlation and Strategy Act," as first reported by The Washington Post. If signed into law, the bill would bar the president and any other federal agency or official from using a nuclear bomb and prevent them from "altering weather patterns or addressing climate change."

The Post reports Garcia said the bill was drafted as a response to the reporting last hurricane season.

"When I heard our president suggest that we needed to launch a nuclear weapon to disrupt a hurricane, my first thought was that’s a really dumb idea," Garcia told the Post. "When we did the research, we found that others have thought of that idea before."

NOAA on its website has a drop-down of "misconceptions about hurricane mitigation," with nuclear weapons and the "adding of hygroscopic particles" among them.

On the issue of bombs, the agency said not only are they unlikely to alter a storm, but radioactive fallout would spread to landmasses through the tradewinds. A fully-developed hurricane also has the potential to release enough heat with the energy of a 10-megaton nuclear bomb going off every 20 minutes.

One bomb tossed into the system would make no difference.

The bill currently has no sponsors or related bills in the Senate, making it unlikely to be considered anytime soon.

Hurricane season 2020 already is off to a rapid start, with three named tropical cyclones already checked off the list.

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