Friday, May 30, 2014

Heavy Rain Pummels Southeast, and It Might Not Even Stop the Drought

Massive flooding causes caskets to float away from graves. (Credit: WAFB) Click to enlarge.
Clusters of severe storms rolling through the South since Memorial Day have caused widespread flash flooding in Texas and Louisiana.  Cars stalled out and were abandoned on flooded highways in Houston and in a single day, rainfall deficits for parched southeast Texas were eliminated.  Flights were grounded throughout area airports.  According to measurements taken at Houston’s Hobby Airport, this is now the fifth-wettest May on record thanks to the last three days of rain.

In Louisiana more than a foot of rain in just a few hours on Wednesday caused a dozen caskets to float away from their graves in Belle Rose.  About 50 houses and apartments were flooded in St. Landry Parish, while In Ascension Parish, near Baton Rouge, at least 29 homes, three schools and two businesses were inundated.  At least one man has drowned in the floods in Louisiana, after police believe he was swept under his car by powerful rising waters in a parking lot.  In Lafayette, Louisiana, more rain fell on Wednesday than had fallen in the past three months combined.

In the latest National Climate Assessment, scientists listed an increase in heavy rainfall events as one of the most visible consequences the country will encounter as the climate changes.  The southeast is expected to see a 27 percent increase in the amount of precipitation that falls in very heavy rainfall events — the heaviest one percent of events. These rainfall events often cause flash flooding as drainage systems are overwhelmed, and do little to alleviate drought, as soils are unable to absorb large quantities of water all at once.

Heavy Rain Pummels Southeast, and It Might Not Even Stop the Drought

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