In a series of articles from the Mississippi River Basin Ag and Water Desk at the University of Missouri, journalists from around the Mississippi Basin report what they found. We will share the articles in the UMRR blog, and will continue to follow their work. The Ag and Water Desk is an independent reporting network based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in partnership with Report For America and the Society of Environmental Journalists, funded by the Walton Family Foundation.
When it Rains:
After floods hammered St. Louis and eastern Kentucky this summer, the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk wanted to know: Is rainfall increasing in the basin? Desk Editorial Director Tegan Wendland worked with the nonprofit climate research and communication group Climate Central to produce new data analyses on this question. The team found that average annual rainfall has increased by upwards of 8 inches in the past 50 years in much of the region while also falling in heavier bouts, causing repeated flooding and raising many questions about how we live in a wetter world. Those facts are part of When it Rains, a new five-part multimedia series from the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk. The first installment follows. You may have seen these articles in other press; we will run them as a series of monthly installments in the UMRR blog.
THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN IS GETTING WETTER AS CLIMATE CHANGE BRINGS ERA OF EXTREME RAIN, FLOODS (This link will take you to the full article.)
By Bryce Gray, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Connor Giffin, The Courier-Journal
Published October 11, 2022 at 4:00 AM CDT
Much of the Mississippi River basin is getting wetter, according to a new analysis of federal data, while rainfall events are becoming more intense. At the same time, the western half of the U.S. is increasingly prone to drought.
In the early morning hours of July 26, many St. Louis-area residents awoke to floodwater filling their homes, or to the din of blaring car alarms from vehicles getting overtaken by murky brown water. Too much rain was falling far too fast.
The weather system dumped more than 9 inches on St. Louis – about a quarter of the city’s annual average – compressed largely within a few hours. That same week, torrential rain storms settled on Eastern Kentucky, where up to 16 inches fell and water rushed into people’s homes so swiftly that many didn’t get out in time.
Forty people were killed in Eastern Kentucky. Two people died in St. Louis.
Take time to read the rest of the story (thank you, Paul Harvey!) - you will learn about how the intensity of rainfall has increased and is expected to continue increasing; the number of flood-related federal disaster declarations has skyrocketed between 1970 and the 2010's and there's no end in sight.
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region