Is the increase in significant flooding due to climate change?

A single storm doesn’t determine climate change, but the intensity of the storm could be an underlying factor of climate change. 

Hope Osemwenkhae

Oct 4, 2023, 6:10 PM

Updated 254 days ago

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New York City is no stranger to flooding. On a 30-year average, flooding is the second weather-related fatality in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, significant flooding events have become more common in our area. Is this due to climate change?
The answer is yes and no. Climate is based on weather conditions over decades to measure the changes in our atmosphere. Meanwhile, weather is what’s happening in our day to day. A single storm doesn’t determine climate change, but the intensity of the storm could be an underlying factor of climate change. 
As temperatures continue to warm each year, flooding events will become more extreme because warmer air can hold more moisture. This leads to intense rainfall rates, heavy snow bands and dangerous flooding conditions. 
New York City’s infrastructure isn’t suitable for significant flash flood events, but this is something we need to prepare for as it’s becoming more frequent. Knowing the difference between a flood watch, advisory and warning can save a life. 
A flood watch means conditions are favorable for flooding.
A flood advisory means flooding is occurring but not but life-threatening.
A flood warning means flooding is occurring and that it poses a threat to life and property.
Climate Central says “vulnerable basement apartments in areas like the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens show the highest risk of flooding.” If extreme flooding is happening near you, don’t drive in unknown water depths and seek higher ground immediately. With our warming climate, severe flooding can occur anytime of year. 


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