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Sun May 26, 2019, 07:13 AM

NOAA's Forecast For This Year - Moderate To Major Flooding In 2/3 Of Lower 48 - Right On Target

Fierce storms lashed across the central US this week, unleashing hundreds of powerful tornadoes that carved a path of destruction through parts of Missouri and Oklahoma Wednesday night, and left at least three dead. While the worst of the violent winds has passed, the region is now bracing for massive flooding, following record amounts of rain brought by the severe weather system and with more expected over the weekend. And it’s coming on the heels of the wettest 12 months the US has seen since record-keeping began in 1895.

That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which earlier this year predicted that two-thirds of the states in the lower 48 would risk major or moderate flooding between March and May. “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,” Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center said in the agency’s spring outlook report.

So far, it’s proven prescient—with rivers from North Dakota east to Ohio and south to Louisiana all overflowing their banks in recent weeks. The damage to homes, businesses, and farms is likely to rise into the hundreds of millions of dollars.


We tend to focus on how coastal cities, with their sprawling miles of pavement and rain-grabbing skylines, turn hurricanes and atmospheric rivers into deadly urban flash floods. Or how they’ll get swamped first by sea-level rise. Scientists too have focused their efforts on understanding how western watersheds, with their cycles of moisture whiplash, will respond to a warmer world. But climate change will bring more moisture to the middle parts of the country too, and after decades of draining wetlands and clearing forests for agricultural use, those changes to the timing, type, and amount of precipitation will fall on a system already profoundly altered in ways that make flooding much more likely.



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