Extreme Storms Double in the Midwest
A new report released by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows an increasing frequency of big storms pummeling the Midwest, which is leading to major floods – the region’s most costly regularly occurring natural disaster. Entitled, “Doubled Trouble: More Midwestern Extreme Storms,” the report details extreme weather trends in the Midwest by analyzing rain events between 1961 and 2011. The study defined the Midwest as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Since 1961, the largest storms (considered as three inches of rain or more in one day) have increased by 103%. Less severe storms (ranging between two to three inches of rain in one day) have increased by 81%, and moderate storms (one to two inches per day) increased by 34%.
Cities will need to adapt to these shifting climate patterns to better manage stormwater and its associated dangers, such as flooding and landslides. Using green infrastructure to prevent the stress on currently taxed infrastructure in times of extreme wet-weather events is one method to mitigate stormwater. Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Board Member of the U.S. Water Alliance, says:
“This study’s results highlight real issues that have already caused significant pain and suffering in Milwaukee…..We need to explore new ways to soften the impacts of these events and to better protect our residents. In Milwaukee, we are adding green infrastructure to our landscape, reinforcing our grey infrastructure, converting to renewable energy for all our wastewater facilities, and educating our public about what they can do be better prepared for flooding.”
For the full report, go HERE.