One way Hurricane Irma could affect the U.S. — even if it misses Florida

Even if Hurricane Irma doesn’t make landfall in the contiguous United States, its impact could be felt nonetheless.

Hurricanes cause an increase in international migration to the U.S., according to a new working paper from researchers at the University of Michigan distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week. To produce their analysis, researchers used immigration-related data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security along with information on hurricane tracks from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Tropical Prediction Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

A hurricane warning was in effect for much of the Caribbean on Tuesday as Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a Category 5 storm, the highest level of the Saffir-Simpson scale used to measure a hurricane’s strength.

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