Extreme Precipitation Events More Common Today
Current widespread drought conditions notwithstanding, authors of a new study by the Environment California Research and Policy Center found that extreme precipitation events—including both rainstorms and snowstorms—are now occurring 30 percent more often across the nation than they did in 1948. Furthermore, the largest storms now produce about 10 percent more rain, on average, than they did before. New England has seen the largest change, with extreme events happening 85 percent more often than in 1948. In the Southwest, New Mexico and Utah have seen the largest increases with extreme downpours occurring about 50 percent more often. This does not necessarily mean more precipitation is falling—indeed, droughts may also become more severe in some locations—but does have significant implications for stormwater management when the big storms do occur.