The US has been battered with four one-in-1,000-year flooding events in just over two weeks

Rachel Lang

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The US has been battered with four one-in-1,000-year flooding events in just over two weeks

Featured Image Credit: EyeEm/Alamy. American Photo Archive/Alamy.

The United States has been absolutely battered with rain in the last fortnight.

Americans in St. Louis, Kentucky, Illinois, and even Death Valley have suffered colossal flooding events.

Yes, you read that right.

Death Valley, the driest place in North America, recorded nearly a year's worth of rain in only three hours.

According to the National Parks Service, 37.08mm of rain was recorded at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, and was mere drops away from the all-time record of 37.33mm.

National Weather Service Las Vegas meteorologist Daniel Berc revealed the rarity of such rainfall in North America's driest place.

"The heavy rain that caused the devastating flooding at Death Valley was an extremely rare, 1,000-year event," Berc said, as per a statement.

Park superintendent Mike Reynolds said the recent flooding is a prime example of the extreme nature of the environment at Death Valley.

"Death Valley is an incredible place of extremes," he said in a National Parks Service statement.

"It is the hottest place in the world, and the driest place in North America. This week’s 1,000 year flood is another example of this extreme environment."

But it wasn't just the driest place in North America that copped it big time.

A few days before the Death Valley rain event, southern and central Illinois was battered with 203.2mm to 304.8mm of rain over a 12-hour period, according to the The Washington Post.

The National Guard was called in to evacuate flooded areas in some parts of the US. Credit: American Photo Archive/Alamy
The National Guard was called in to evacuate flooded areas in some parts of the US. Credit: American Photo Archive/Alamy

The massive rain event - which has been called the third 1-in-1,000-year rain event in one week across the US - submerged vehicles and caused flash-flooding and widespread damage.

Prior to that, thunderstorms in the US state of Kentucky unleashed hell from July 25 - 30.

According to the National Weather Service, eastern Kentucky and central Appalachia received 'overwhelming amounts of rain and resultant flooding, [which] led to at least 37 deaths and widespread catastrophic damage'.

Thunderstorms pounded the area with 355.6mm to 381mm of rain falling over the five day period, making it the fourth wettest July on record.

On July 26, St Louis was battered by another 1-in-1,000-year rain event that saw 195.07mm of rain fall in only six hours.

Flooding in Kentucky. Credit: American Photo Archive/Alamy.
Flooding in Kentucky. Credit: American Photo Archive/Alamy.

A total of 229.61mm worth of rain fell during the 15-hour storm, shattering the 1915 rainfall record of 173.99mm, the National Weather Service reported.

So why has the rain gone totally bonkers in America?

A warming atmosphere of course, which can also trigger fires, hurricanes, crippling heatwaves, and, of course heavy rain.

National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Andreas Prein, who studies extreme precipitation, told the The Washington Post the reason for mass flooding also comes down to infrastructure.

"The infrastructure we have is really built for a climate we are not living in anymore," he said.

Topics: News, Weather, US News

Rachel Lang
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