Monday, July 17, 2017

Flooding HIts Midwest Hard

Several communities in the Midwest have experienced catastrophic flooding in recent days. Findlay, Ohio was inundated when the nearby river crested at 16.5 feet, the fifth highest on record. Eight people recreating in a normally placid creek lost their lives when a flash flood in Arizona sent a torrent of muddy water and debris down the slot canyon, catching them off guard. A wild fire had denuded hills of vegetation increasing the run off volume into the creek. These incidents corroborate what climate scientists have been predicting for some time now. Global warming will drastically increase the number and intensity of deluges. A study published in Nature Climate Change says that storms expected to occur once a season could occur five times a season and produce seventy percent more rain. Heavy precipitation has increased by 71% in the northeast according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment. Ninety communities, mostly in Louisiana and Maryland face chronic inundation. Land subsidence plays a role in their predicament, but rising sea levels also contribute to the problem. Researchers think that sea levels could rise by six and half feet by the end of the century, which could chronically flood about 670 communities including 60% of all East and Gulf coast settlements. One of those settlements, Miami Beach is beginning $4-500 million flood prevention project in an effort to keep the city mostly dry as sea levels rise. City officials are planning for a three feet rise by mid-century.