Extreme rainstorms are occurring 33 percent more frequently in Virginia since 1948, according to a new Environment Virginia report.
Based on an analysis of state data from the National Climatic Data Center, the report released Tuesday found that heavy downpours that used to happen once every 12 months on average in state now happen every nine months on average. Moreover, the biggest storms are getting bigger. The largest annual storms in Virginia now produce 11 percent more precipitation, on average, than they did 65 years ago.
Field Organizer for Environment Virginia Laura Kate Anderson, said, “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today.”
Scientists have concluded that the rise in the frequency and severity of heavy rainstorms and snowstorms is linked to global warming. Warming increases evaporation and enables the atmosphere to hold more water, providing more fuel for extreme rainstorms and heavy snowstorms.
Manassas and surrounding areas a month ago.
Key findings from the report for Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic include:
- Extreme rainstorms and snowstorms are becoming more frequent. Virginia experienced a 33 percent increase in the frequency of extreme rainstorms from 1948 to 2011.
- Storms with extreme precipitation increased in frequency by 55 percent in the Mid-Atlantic during the period studied. The Mid-Atlantic region ranks 2nd nationwide for the largest increase in the frequency of storms with heavy precipitation.
- The biggest rainstorms and snowstorms are getting bigger. The amount of precipitation released by the largest annual storms in Virginia increased by 11 percent from 1948 to 2011.