Flood Risks Continue to Increase in Most Parts of the U.S.
In a new study, University of Iowa (UI) engineers determined that, in general, the threat of flooding is growing in the northern half of the U.S. and declining in the southern half—just don't tell that to people in Louisiana or Texas, which both experienced massive flooding in 2016.
The American Southwest and West are experiencing decreasing flood risk as the ground dries out and rainfall decreases. This in line with most climate predictions that have the American Southwest becoming increasingly hot and dry as the climate changes.
UI engineers Gabriele Villarini and Louise Slater compiled water-height information between 1985 and 2015 from 2,042 stream gauges operated by the U.S. Geological Survey. They then compared the data to satellite information gathered over more than a dozen years by NASA’S Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission showing “basin wetness,” or the amount of water stored in the ground.
What they found was the northern sections of the country, generally, have an increased amount of water stored in the ground, and thus are at greater risk for minor and moderate flooding, while minor to moderate flood risk was decreasing in the southern portions of the U.S., where stored water has declined.
In 2016, many parts of the U.S. experienced extreme weather and increasingly bizarre and new weather patterns.
Contractors who work outdoors should count on more extreme weather and increased distruptions to their projects.
When possible, it may be a good idea to include a weather clause in contracts and ensure that equipment and materials loss and damage from weather is covered by insurance.
When it comes to weather, there is no more normal to be expected and the abnormal should be taken into account.