It has been an unprecedented summer in 2022, with five “1-in-1,000-year” floods experienced across the U.S.: St. Louis (July 26), Eastern Kentucky (July 28), southeast Illinois (August 1), Death Valley (August 5), Dallas (August 22).
“The intense rainfall combined with conducive land surface conditions, known as impervious surfaces, have caused flash floods and widespread inundation in cities,” said Yang Hong, Ph.D., professor of hydrology and remote sensing in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. “The continued warming climate and aging water infrastructure will exacerbate flood risks.”
Hong is leading a research team with Zhi Li, Ph.D., and Jonathan Gourley, Ph.D., research hydrometeorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory. Their latest study, published in Earth’s Future, has shown that future flooding in the U.S. is becoming more frequent, wider spread, yet less seasonal.
In a previous study, the team demonstrated flash flooding is becoming 7.9% more extreme, including higher peak flows and faster arrival times across the country.