Rainstorms are more aggressive than ever
More rainstorms are now much wetter and stronger, in fact, rainstorms are 70% stronger and wetter than they were in the 1950s. Unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue. Scientific models are suggesting that by the end of this century, there will be a 300% increase in rainstorms across the US. As well, “water bomb” storms, with large winds and water amounts, are becoming increasingly more frequent. Therefore, there is a higher chance for more property damage and the high costs associated with that.
Rain has been non-stop this spring, for instance, Seattle has seen 30-40% more rain than usual. As well, the past 30 days in the Eastern seaboard, Miami to Washington DC, has seen more than 10 inches of rain. The peak rain rates have increased 30% in the last 60 years, where in some cases, upwards of 4 inches of rain can fall per hour.
Humans Are the Cause
This is due to the burning of fossil fuels which releases carbon dioxide into the air and causes the Earth’s average temperature to rise. The greenhouse gases trap more heat from the sun and that raises the planet’s temperature. A side effect of this is that precipitation increases, like a feverish sweat. As well, warmer air can hold more water and that causes heavier rains and more summer floods.
What This Means
This could lead to bigger floods, more often. Scientists call this an intensification of the hydrologic cycle. This has already affected US storms as they are now 10-70% wetter than from the past.
This can lead to more property damage. It is estimated that the damages from more intense thunderstorms last year in the US was $145 billion, compared to the $125 billion from Hurricane Harvey. As well, just two days of storms across the Midwest, in November 2017, led to a total of $275 million in damages.
That is not the only problem we face as dry places are continuing to get drier. When rain does hit the dry areas of the US, there will be a higher risk of flooding due to the ground being drier and resistant to water.
As the Earth’s temperature is expected to continue to rise, we can expect to be caught in more devastating and wet storms more frequently.
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