Texas Flooding Could Be A Preview Of Future Extreme Weather Events

Devastating and deadly storms have struck parts of Texas and Oklahoma in recent days, bringing record rainfall and widespread floods that have damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 homes and left at least 16 people dead.

“This is the biggest flood this area of Texas has ever seen,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on Monday, according to Reuters. “It is absolutely massive — the relentless tsunami-type power of this wave of water.”

The historic and anomalous nature of the flooding raises an important question: Is this climate change in action? At minimum, the recent downpours in Texas probably offer a glimpse of what certain parts of the U.S. can look forward to in the coming decades.

As the planet continues to get hotter, in large part due to human activity, warmer air in the atmosphere will hold more moisture. This is expected to alter weather patterns and lead to more frequent and more intense instances of extreme precipitation.

For Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, the annual amount of precipitation that fell during the heaviest 1 percent of events was up nearly 20 percent last decade compared to the average between 1901 and 1960, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment from the federal government.

“Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions,” the NCA’s authors warn.

In its
From the National Climate Assessment: Percent changes in the annual amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events, defined as the heaviest 1 percent of all daily events from 1901 to 2012 for each region. The far right bar is for 2001-2012. Changes are compared to the 1901 to 1960 average for all regions except Alaska and Hawaii, which are relative to the 1951 to 1980 average. (NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC). Click —> Read More