RAINFALL & FLOODS

RAINFALL & FLOODS


Downpours and more intense hurricanes, exacerbated by climate change, are contributing factors to a growing number of communities finding themselves underwater. Floods are the most common (and among the most deadly) natural disasters in the United States.

2019 saw much of the country experience record-breaking rain with five Midwestern states recording the wettest year in 125 years according  to NOAA. Flooding affected nearly 14 million people across the Midwest and Southwest, Houston was swamped by the second 500-year flood in two years, dumping over 40 inches of rain within 72 hours, and DC flash floods saw a month’s rain in only one hour

Farmers and agriculture workers are hit particularly hard as crops have been destroyed, fields washed away, and spring planting disrupted for many farmers. Insufficient flood protection has left infrastructure destroyed with one farmer commenting, “I drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was…gone.” By Spring 2019, 25 states were at serious risk for flooding.  

CREDIT: NOAA

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

National Temperature and Precipitation Maps

11/20/20
National temperature and precipitation maps

Science Empowering Communities In The Face Of Flooding

10/06/20
Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

Storm Surge Inundation Map

06/12/20
This story map illustrates historical hurricane tracks, strike frequency, and potential areas of coastal flooding and inundation from storms by combining the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC’s) hurricane strike dataset.

What is Digital Coast?

06/11/20
This NOAA-sponsored website is focused on helping communities address coastal issues and has become one of the most-used resources in the coastal management community. The dynamic Digital Coast Partnership, whose members represent the website’s primary…

Association of State Floodplain Managers

06/10/20
The mission of ASFPM is to promote education, policies and activities that mitigate current and future losses, costs and human suffering caused by flooding, and to protect the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains -…

The Great Flood of 2019: A Complete Picture of a Slow-Motion Disaster

02/05/20
This year’s flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people, yet the full scale of the slowly unfolding disaster has been difficult to fathom. To visualize just how extensive it was,…

Going under: Long wait times for post-flood buyouts leave homeowners underwater

11/18/19
By the end of this century, as many as 13 million people in the United States will see their homes affected by sea level rise. Millions more who live, work, or travel through coastal or…

Flood Resilience Portal

09/16/19
The Flood Resilience Portals are online spaces for sharing practical knowledge (including ‘solutions’) about why and how to build community flood resilience. They bring together all of the knowledge generated and exchanged through the Zurich…

Floods information and resources

09/11/19
Floods, big or small, can have devastating effects on your home and your family. You can take steps to reduce the harm caused by flooding. Learn how to prepare for a flood, stay safe during…

Understanding FEMA Flood Maps and Limitations

03/21/19
Flooding in the United States (U.S.) has cost over $1 trillion in inflation adjusted dollars since 1980 and represents more than 63% of the cost associated with all billion dollar or more natural disasters.1 It…

MORE NEWS

What the Floods Left Behind: A Devastated Kentucky Views the Damage

By Shawn Hubler  Photo: Austin Anthony, New York Times   07/31/22  
Search and rescue operations continued on Sunday in eastern Kentucky, where devastating floods, the product of extreme rainfall, swept through rural communities last week.

Jet Stream Stokes Both Deadly Midwest Flooding and Northwest Heat

By Brian K Sullivan  Photo: David Ryder, Getty Images   07/28/22  
Deadly floods are slamming the US Heartland. More than 2,000 miles away, dangerous heat is scorching the Pacific Northwest. The same phenomenon is to blame for both. A massive bend in the jet stream --…
npr

These hurricane flood maps reveal the climate future for Miami, NYC and D.C.

By Jenny Staletovich and Others  Photo: David Goldman, AP   07/28/22  
As climate change warms the planet, drives up sea levels and energizes hurricanes, the arsenal of dangerous impacts delivered by the fierce storms is expected to get supercharged. Among the most worrisome: powerful flooding from…

Climate Change Magnified Recent California Deluge

By Anne C. Mulkern  Photo: Brontë Wittpenn Getty Images   10/27/21  
A record-breaking storm that swept through California in recent days was made worse by climate change, experts say. And not just because of additional rainfall that’s a symptom of a warmer climate. Adding to the…

Record rainfall offers dry state needed relief

By Hayley Smith, Luke Money and Lila Seidman  Photo: Noah Berger / Associated Press   10/26/21  
The drought-dried shores of Folsom Lake were damp this week after what officials called the first big storm of the season. The water level at Lake Oroville, which receded so much this summer that officials…

Storm unleashes mudflows, inundates Bay Area

By Rosanna Xia  Photo: Noah Berger / Associated Press   10/25/21  
Bomb cyclone. Rivers of rain. Emergency response officials were bracing all of last week for the worst days of the storm — and it finally arrived late Saturday evening. Light scattered showers in Northern California,…
NPR

Floods threaten to shut down a quarter of U.S. roads and critical buildings

By Jeffrey Pierre   10/14/21  
A quarter of the roads in the United States would be impassable during a flood, according to a new study by First Street Foundation that looks at flooding threats to the country's critical infrastructure.

How Government Decisions Left Tennessee Exposed to Deadly Flooding

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo: Brandon Dill , The New York Times   08/26/21  
The floods that killed at least 20 people in Tennessee last weekend arrived with shocking speed and force — seemingly a case study of the difficulties of protecting people from explosive rainstorms as climate change…

Manchin in the middle: West Virginia senator puts his stamp on infrastructure, spending bills

07/26/21  
Democrats’ razor-thin majority gives each Senate Democrat tremendous leverage. But Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from deep-red West Virginia, seems to relish in keeping everyone guessing about what it will take to get his vote.

Scores Die in India as Monsoon Rains Swamp Towns and Send Boulders Tumbling

By Karan Deep Singh   07/26/21  
“Guys, we have to run!” said a man filming the devastation unfolding in his hillside town in northern India on Sunday, as a landslide set off by incessant monsoon rains sent heavy rocks tumbling down…

In aftermath of German floods, fires burn in southern Europe as rains drench London

By Miriam Berger and Karla Adam  Photo: Alessandro Tocco , AP   07/26/21  
Wildfires are spreading on the Italian island of Sardinia, and elsewhere in southern Europe, fueled by wind and dry weather — adding to a list of travails that have plagued the continent over the summer,…

Floods, Heat, Then Floods Again: England Is Battered by Wild Weather

By Isabella Kwai  Photo: Victoria Jones , AP   07/26/21  
For the second time in a matter of two weeks, heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc across London, flooding train stations, stranding motorists and forcing at least two hospitals to redirect patients from their emergency rooms.

Climate Crisis Turns World’s Subways Into Flood Zones

By Hiroko Tabuchi and John Schwartz  Photo: Merakizz , Getty Images   07/22/21  
Terrified passengers trapped in flooded subway cars in Zhengzhou, China. Water cascading down stairways into the London Underground. A woman wading through murky, waist-deep water to reach a New York City subway platform.

Biden imposes flood standard after stumbling the first time

By Thomas Frank  Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images   05/24/21  
It was an innocuous error that President Biden made on his first day in office — and that he has now corrected, to the relief of climate advocates. When Biden issued an expansive day one…

Millions in Texas and Louisiana are under flash flood watches due to torrential rain

By Aya Elamroussi, CNN   05/19/21  
Millions across southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana will remain under flash flood watches into Thursday because of torrential rain that has swept through the region, triggering power outages and reports of localized damage.

Recovery For All of Us: New York City Adopts new Zoning Rules to Protect Coastal Areas From Climate Change

05/12/21  
NEW YORK—Following a City Council vote, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that a major package of zoning rules will now help to protect homes and businesses in New York City’s vast floodplain from climate…

Houston’s ‘New Normal’: A Hotter And Wetter Climate

By Aya Elamroussi, CNN  Photo: Don Geraci / Houston Public Media   05/06/21  
Houston's weather has gotten hotter and wetter, according to the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It mirrors a general trend across the country as the planet warms. Every 10 years, NOAA updates…

Why is it raining so hard? Global warming is delivering heavier downpours

By Tiffany Means   04/30/21  
when it rains, it pours. Today’s rainstorms give new meaning to this age-old expression. Extreme precipitation has increased in nearly every region of the mainland United States since the start of the 20th century, according…

The value of US coral reefs for flood risk reduction

By Borja G. Reguero   04/15/21  
Habitats, such as coral reefs, can mitigate increasing flood damages through coastal protection services. We provide a fine-scale, national valuation of the flood risk reduction benefits of coral habitats to people, property, economies and infrastructure.…
Pew

As Flood Risk Grows, Experts, Elected Officials Call for More—and Smarter—Federal Action

By Matthew Fuchs and Brian Watts  Photo by Tom Williams   04/13/21  
Flooding is a growing problem across the U.S., from increasingly frequent and intense hurricanes and tidal flooding to seasonal inland events driven by more and heavier rains. As these disasters exact a mounting toll on…

As rainstorms grow more severe and frequent, communities fail to prepare for risks

By Jim Morrison  Photo: Tribune News Service/Getty Images   04/09/21  
When then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced plans in 2017 for a sprawling Foxconn electronics plant, he touted the 13,000 promised jobs and $10 billion investment spread across 1,000 acres, much of it farmland. Downstream across…

Coastal flooding continues to increase in South Carolina

By Danielle Miller   10/19/20  
King tide floods affected many locations along the East Coast this weekend, including Charleston. This type of flooding, often called sunny day flooding, occurs during the highest astronomical tides of the year. Dr. Kirstin Dow,…

Gone In A Generation

By Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney   09/26/20  
There’s stark evidence of the problem near the town of Truth or Consequences, about 100 miles north of the Mexican border. The century-old Elephant Butte Dam was constructed along the Rio Grande to provide power…

Fierce rainstorm strikes Charleston, a reminder of how climate change has amped up weather

By Tony Bartelme  Photo by Grace Beahm Alford   09/25/20  
The storm came from the southwest, loaded with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Gray clouds moved in with little warning, drizzling at first. Then just before noon Friday the skies opened up, unleashing a…

“How long before my home goes underwater?”

By John Englander   09/21/20  
“Do I have 20 or 30 years before my property floods?” is a typical question I get at least once a week. The other day it was someone about a property in Ochlockee Bay, marked…

What is a derecho? A meteorology professor explains these violent storms.

By Russ Schumacher  Photo by Mark Welsh   08/11/20  
Derechos occur mainly across the central and eastern United States, where many locations are affected one to two times per year on average. They can produce significant damage to structures and sometimes cause “blowdowns” of…

250 million coastal dwellers will face rising floods

By Tim Radford  Photo: Master Sgt Bill Huntington, USAF   08/06/20  
Once again, researchers confirm that coastal dwellers can expect worse floods, more often and more expensively. The post 250 million coastal dwellers will face rising floods appeared first on Climate News Network.

Weather Disasters Are Mounting Amid The Pandemic. Michigan Floods Are Just The Latest.

By Alexander C Kaufman  Photo by Matthew Hatcher   05/21/20  
By Wednesday, fears mounted that the deluge could infiltrate a Dow chemical plant and endanger a nuclear research reactor. The company confirmed that floodwaters were “commingling with on-site containment ponds.”

US coasts face far more frequent severe floods

by Tim Radford  Photo: Beth Carey, via Wikimedia Commons   04/24/20  
For US coasts, high-water hazards have just become more hazardous: a lot more hazardous, say scientists. The post US coasts face far more frequent severe floods appeared first on Climate News Network.

A green solution to an aging stormwater system

By Frances Stead Sellers   04/09/20  
Climate change means more floods, which overwhelm urban sewers and send raw sewage into rivers and streams. Philadelphia is aiming to capture rainwater before it flows into city drains.

Floods predicted to uproot 50 million people a year as climate heats up

12/04/19  
Population growth, more intense rainfall and melting ice are likely to cause more frequent and severe floods, researchers warned on Tuesday.

Farmers’ experience of climate change doesn’t alter politics, study says

By Bryce Oates   11/23/19  
Farmers see climate change as a business challenge, not a political cause that requires public action, according to a qualitative study in the Midwest. Farmers understand that the climate is changing but don’t favor collective…
NPR

After The Water

By Rebecca Hersher and Ryan Kellman  Photo: Ryan Kellman   11/07/19  
When a flash flood ripped through Old Ellicott City in Maryland, residents thought it was a freak occurrence. Instead, it was a hint about the future. And adapting to that future has been painful.

Sunny Day Flooding

10/29/19  
With Hurricane Dorian threatening in late August 2019, we investigate the climate crisis in Norfolk, Virginia -- site of the largest Naval base in the world and vital to US national security. Norfolk is also…

In Houston, a rash of storms tests the limits of coping with climate change

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle   10/02/19  
After Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, Houston jumped to the front of the pack in adapting to the threat of climate change. It passed tougher building codes, offered more buyouts for flood-prone homes and budgeted…

Building a better algorithm to predict flood risk in the age of climate change

Photo by Tegan Wendland   09/30/19  
It's dusk in Charleston, South Carolina, and Sharai Lewis-Gruss slides on waders and sloshes into a deep puddle on the side of the road.

Building a better algorithm to predict flood risk in the age of climate change

09/30/19  
Flood iQ covers the East coast and the Gulf coast, and visualizes your risk of sea level rise flooding today and up to 15 years in the future. It is a web based application created…

Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives

By Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney   09/26/19  
The continental United States is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Seas at the coasts are nine inches higher. The damage is mounting from these fundamental changes, and Americans are affected…

‘No state in the country is spared’ from f‘No state in the country is spared’ from flooding risks, new report sayslooding risks, new report says

By Nina Pullano  Photo by National Geographic   09/25/19  
The United States is getting wetter, and people across the country, from local government officials to scientists, all need to help communities prepare for an uptick in flooding, a new report says.

The Great Flood of 2019: A complete picture of a slow-motion disaster

By Sarah Almukhtar, Blacki Migliozzi and Others   09/14/19  
This year's flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people, yet the full scale of the slowly unfolding disaster has been difficult to fathom. The volume of water is only one…

‘Bigger picture, it’s climate change’: Great Lakes flood ravages homes and roads

By Tom Perkins  Photo by Colter Peterson/AP   09/03/19  
Depths of lakes that hold about 90% of US’s freshwater spiking to record levels, from 14in to nearly 3ft above long-term averages

The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse

By Zack Colman  Photo by Steve Helber   08/26/19  
More than 100 ponds and landfills containing coal ash lie in areas FEMA has designated as high-risk flood zones, according to a POLITICO analysis.

GRACE-FO Shows the Weight of Midwestern Floods

08/20/19  
In May 2019, after the wettest 12 months ever recorded in the Mississippi River Basin, the region was bearing the weight of 8 to 12 inches (200 to 300 millimeters) more water than average. New…

How the 5 riskiest U.S. cities for coastal flooding are preparing for rising tides

By Mary Caperton Morton  Photo: tovfla/iStock Unreleased/Getty images plus   08/06/19  
The five U.S. cities most at risk from coastal flooding have begun to make plans for adapting to rising sea levels. Some are further along than others.

“I’m not a climate change guy, but…”: Farmers reckon with new reality in the heartland

By Rosa Tuiran  Photo: CBS News   07/26/19  
Walking over soggy lifeless crops, Brett Adams, a fifth generation Nebraska farmer, paused to catch his breath. Under the dark grey clouds of the Midwestern spring, he was forced to come to terms with an…

Flood survivors join forces to change policy, fight climate change

07/18/19  
Flood survivors join forces to change policy, fight climate change By Flannery Winchester Climate scientists have been clear that a warming world means more flooding. Warmer air, warmer water, and changing precipitation patterns are a…

Mexico Hailstorm Blankets Western Areas Under 3 Feet of Ice

By Iliana Magra  Photo: Francisco Guasco/EPA, via Shutterstock   07/01/19  
The photographs that emerged from western Mexico on Sunday looked more like scenes from a post-apocalyptic movie than an image of the last day of June: hills of white hailstones piled up on the streets,…

Beach pollution surges after massive wildfires and heavy rains, report finds

By Hannah Fry  Photo: Dania Maxwell   06/27/19  
If there was one upside to the severe drought that plagued California for seven years, it was how the lack of rain and dirty runoff improved beach water quality. But ocean pollution has surged once…

Algae Blooms Fed by Farm Flooding Add to Midwest’s Climate Woes

By Georgina Gustin  Photo: NASA   06/26/19  
All that water has flushed vast amounts of fertilizer and manure into waterways, triggering a potentially unprecedented season of algae blooms.

Rain leaves veggie farmers struggling with no aid in sight

By Scott McFetridge  Photo: AP/Charlier Neibergall   06/16/19