From Denise Mann Reporter for HealthDay

The stately pine tree rings on the beaches of North and South Carolina provide compelling long-term proof of climate change as well as a gloomy outlook.

The end result is that hurricanes have become increasingly dangerous over the past 300 years due to increasing rainfall.

According to Justin Maxwell, a scientist at Indiana University Bloomington who conducted the new study , “our findings show that the maximum quantity of rainfall from these storms is increasing and is likely going to continue to do so in a warmer future.”

He added coastal communities with lots of hard surfaces that prevent water from penetrating the earth are particularly vulnerable to heavier storms.

Potential risks include flood-related injuries as well as infectious infections from germs and disease-carrying organisms in floodwater. Additionally, dangerous substances could leak into the neighboring water and air due to chemical spills, a possibility when industrial sites are inundated.

In order to determine whether rainfall has increased over the past 300 years in the Carolinas, Maxwell’s team examined tree rings from longleaf pine trees. Up to this point, data only went back to 1948. But tree-ring data can show not just how old a tree is, but also the local weather patterns during its growth.

The reconstruction showed that during exceptional years, hurricane-related rainfall since 1700 increased by 2.5 to 5 inches.

As long as this tendency persists, Maxwell added, “an increase of 2.5 to 5 inches of rain is a lot and will provide challenges for cities.”

Average hurricane length and speed were connected with rainfall totals, indicating that the slowed storms are to blame for the higher rainfall.
According to Maxwell, “they are more prone to stall and are lingering in one place longer, delivering more rain.”
He suggested that these changes might be caused by climate change and global warming.

According to Maxwell, “a warmer planet results in weaker global winds, and when these winds are weaker, tropical cyclones are more likely to meander and stall in a local area, resulting in more rainfall for that location.”

He pointed out that the previous 60 years have seen the majority of the rise in rainfall brought on by hurricanes. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 are two well-known instances of slow-moving hurricanes.

He added that recent hurricanes Ida and Nicholas were also slow-moving storms that dumped a lot of rain and caused extensive flooding. “We anticipate that these storms will occur more frequently in a warming planet.”

As Maxwell put it, “Forewarned is forearmed.”
Coastal committees may better plan for flooding by realizing that these storms are becoming wetter, he added.
The results were released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 12.

According to Tom Knutson, director of the Weather and Climate Dynamic Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey, even though the study only focused on the Carolinas, there is some evidence that extreme rainfall has been rising across the United States in general. He went over the results.

Inland flooding poses major risks that must be treated seriously, according to Knutson.
He remembers the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey of 2017, a category 4 storm that took more than 100 lives.

“When Hurricane Harvey stalled out over Houston in 2017, it rained for three days, resulting in more than 3- feet of rain in some locations and a lot of flooding and health difficulties among inhabitants,” Knutson added. “Harvey is a textbook illustration of how bad things may turn out when a cyclone stalls out.”

The Washington Post recently revealed that a record 18 storms and hurricanes have made landfall in the United States in the last two years.
Information about

Information on how to prepare for a flood is available from both Prevention and the US Centers for Disease Control.

SOURCES: Tom Knutson, senior scientist, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, N.J.; Washington Post, September 29, 2021; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 12, 2021; Justin Maxwell, PhD, climatologist, department of geography, Indiana University Bloomington;

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