Texas and Oklahoma aren’t alone when it comes to recent catastrophic rainfall. According to a new report from Climate Central, heavy downpours have steadily increased across the U.S. for more than half a century.
The analysis skimmed rain observations from 2,962 climate stations across the contiguous 48 states. The researchers marked down the heaviest downpours from each station — those inthe top one percent — that happened between 1950 and 2014.
They report that “40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950.” The Northeast and Midwest have been hit the hardest, which parallels the findings issued last year by the National Climate Assessment.
Houston — where six of 19 flood fatalities occurred this week — ranked 8th on the list of cities with the biggest increase of heavy downpours since 1950.
“Climate models predict that if carbon emissions continue to increase as they have in recent decades, the types of downpours that used to happen once every 20 years could occur every 4 to 15 years by 2100,” the report says. “As the number of days with extreme precipitation increases, the risk for intense and damaging floods is also expected to increase throughout much of the country.”