WAMC News
5:33 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Report Says Heavy Rain and Storm Events Increasing in New England

A new report from Environment America examines trends in the frequency and amount of rain and snow storms across the country.  They found that in New England extremely high rain or snowfall is up 85 percent since 1948 and the region the country in the  frequency and intensity of severe storms.

“When It Rains, It Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011" found that severe weather events more than doubled in frequency in New Hampshire and extreme downpours and snowstorms are up 84 percent in Vermont. It also found that the biggest storms are getting bigger. The report is being distributed in New England by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.  Executive Director Paul Burns says the data confirms what many people have been thinking.

The New England region had the largest increase in severity of storms, followed by the mid-Atlantic region. New York State had a 64 percent increase in the frequency of severe storms. Despite the precipitation increase, there is severe drought in over 50-percent of the country. The report says that’s due to climate change and VPIRG’s Paul Burns says the rain and drought cycle is expected.

Northeast Regional Climate Center Climatologist Jessica Rennells confirmed that there has been an increase in extreme rainfall events that will continue, and will occur more often. Rennells also said they are seeing many of the same trends illustrated in the Environment America report, including the drought and heavy rain cycles.

The report assessed the frequency and total amount of precipitation using data from 37-hundred weather stations across the contiguous U.S.