Climate change is supercharging the water cycle, leading to heavier rainfall extremes in many parts of the U.S. Heavy rains worsen the risk of flooding—which can injure people, take lives, destroy homes, and strain aging infrastructure.
More extreme rainfall isn’t a distant future possibility; it’s been increasing over much of America for more than three decades.
From 1988 to 2017, increases in rainfall accounted for one-third of U.S. flood damages (about $73 billion out of $210 billion in total) over that same period. Floods are complicat- ed, but rain is an important factor. And the most intense downpours caused the largest damages.
This report focuses on these especially intense and risky rainfall extremes:
— how they’re affected by climate change,
— how they’ve changed across the U.S.,
— and what we can expect in the coming decades.