N.J. flooding tied to shorter, more intense storms

 Flooded street in Bogota, N.J. on Thursday, May 1, 2014, (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Flooded street in Bogota, N.J. on Thursday, May 1, 2014, (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

All the rain earlier this week caused a lot of problems in many parts of New Jersey.  Flooding in the state is happening more often as short, intense storms hit more frequently.

New Jersey climatologist Dave Robinson says impervious surfaces such as roads, driveways, and other development make flooding more likely, but the big factor driving flooding is heavier rains.

“It appears that our rainfall is coming in these intense bursts of two and four and six plus inches, and that’s going to lead to flooding in any river basin no matter how much it’s paved over or still sitting as forest or field,” he said.

Robinson says it’s not clear if the pattern of more intense rainstorms is just a natural fluctuation or will persist into the future because of climate change caused by human activities.

“It very well may be that given that the atmosphere is warming, and we know there’s more moisture in a warmer atmosphere, we might be able to ultimately attribute a large portion of this to human activities influencing the climate,” he said.

If  climate change is responsible, Robinson says the pattern of heavy rains that cause flooding will continue in the future.


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