Thursday, May 28, 2015

Across U.S., Heaviest Downpours on the Rise

Top 10 States with Biggest Increases in Heavy Downpours (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Record-breaking rain across Texas and Oklahoma this week caused widespread flooding, the likes of which the region has rarely, if ever, seen.  For seven locations there, May 2015 has seen the most rain of any month ever recorded, with five days to go and the rain still coming.  While rainfall in the region is consistent with the emerging El NiƱo, the unprecedented amounts suggest a possible climate change signal, where a warming atmosphere becomes more saturated with water vapor and capable of previously unimagined downpours.

Several people have been killed and hundreds have been rescued from their homes.  Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already declared disaster areas in 37 counties.  These torrential downpours follow weeks of unusually rainy weather across the Southern Plains.  And they stack up to a broader trend in the region, and across the U.S., toward more heavy precipitation.

Across most of the country, the heaviest downpours are happening more frequently, delivering a deluge in place of what would have been routine heavy rain.  Climate Central’s new analysis of 65 years of rainfall records at thousands of stations nationwide found that 40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950.  The biggest increases are in the Northeast and Midwest, which in the past decade, have seen 31 and 16 percent more heavy downpours compared to the 1950s.

Read more at Across U.S., Heaviest Downpours on the Rise

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