Three heavy rains over eight days in three states this summer washed away homes, destroyed crops and killed at least 39 people.
Torrential rains in Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois have broken 100-year-old records, devastating local communities and prompting warnings from climate experts. They said the intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall is likely to increase as the planet continues to warm.
Some areas of southeastern and central Illinois saw more precipitation than usual for 36 hours on Monday and Tuesday for the entire month of August. Eastern Kentucky and central Appalachia experienced more than 600% of their normal rainfall from July 26 to July 30. Two days of downpours last week wiped out rainfall records in Missouri.
While no storms have been directly attributed to climate change without further analysis, the intensity of these torrential rains is consistent with how global warming has led to an increase in the frequency of extreme rainfall. Then, the water in the atmosphere increases and severe storms occur.
“We expect these sorts of events could become more frequent or even more extreme in the future as the planet continues to warm. This is a call to action that climate change is here.” It’s like,” Kevin said. Reid, an associate professor in the Department of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University in New York, said: “Fifty years from now it won’t matter. That’s what matters now.”
A “historically unprecedented” amount of rain.
At least 37 people have died in Kentucky and two in Missouri.
Kentucky occasionally received more than 4 inches of rain in an hour. According to the Japan Meteorological Agencyand wiped out houses and parts of several communities.
Based on the Bureau of Meteorology’s radar estimates, 14 to 16 inches of rain fell over a small area in the eastern part of the state over four days. He said this was “historically unprecedented” and the chances of getting this much rain in a year are less than 1 in 1,000.
Earlier in the week, in eastern central Missouri, the Bureau of Meteorology announced 7.68 inches of rain in six hours.
The torrential rains hit St. Louis and surrounding areas particularly hard, forcing residents to evacuate their homes in inflatable boats after flooding roads.
The deluge of July 25th and 26th was the heaviest rainfall event in St. Louis since records began in 1874. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency. About 25% of the region’s normal annual rainfall fell in about 12 hours.
Neil Fox, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Missouri, said the heavy rains in Missouri were caused by thunderstorms that occurred over and over again in the same area, what meteorologists know as training. is a common cause of heavy rains, and has also caused heavy rains in Illinois and Kentucky.
“The amount of records broken is like someone broke the 100m world record by a second or something,” Professor Fox said. “An incredible increase over previous records.” is.”
Rainfall in Illinois this week was moderate and no deaths were reported, but heavy flooding caused flash floods and damaged crops. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the maximum rainfall measured for that storm was 7 inches, which is a 1% to 2% chance of occurring in any given year.
“It’s usually just over 3 inches in August, and here in the first two days of August alone, it’s five to seven inches higher,” said Nicole Albano, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Illinois. It is important.”
Extreme storms are becoming more frequent in the United States and other parts of the world as a result of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. The frequency of these heavy downpours is likely to increase as warming continues.
Angeline Pendergrass, an associate professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who studies extreme precipitation, said: “That means we should expect more precipitation records to be broken in the absence of global warming.”