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Harris-Mann Climatology Article Archive

Title: About a Dozen 500-Year or 1000-Year Floods Reported in 2016

Author: Meteorologist Randy Mann
Published: 11/25/2016

It’s almost hard to believe, but areas that are currently reporting major drought conditions experienced massive flooding earlier this year. Normally, we see these huge 500-year or 1,000-year flood events less than once per year. For 2016, there have been nearly a dozen events, which indicates that our cycle of Wide Weather “Extremes” is still going strong with no signs of letting up anytime soon.

Most of the big flood events were east of the Rockies. In early June, Houston, Texas reported 22 inches of rain, which was a 500-year event. Dallas, Texas picked up 16 inches of rain, also a 500-year flood.

In August of 2016, prolonged heavy rainfall resulted in catastrophic flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This 1,000-year flood was called “historic” by government officials. Baton Rouge picked up an amazing 36 inches of rain in a matter of days.

In West Virginia, a 1000-year flood of up to 23 inches in 12 hours was reported in early July from strong thunderstorms.

In early March, southwestern Arkansas reported 18 inches of rain that was a 500-year flood. In late September, the remnants of Hurricane Matthew dropped 16 inches of rain over parts of Delaware, another 500-year event.

More 500-year floods were reported as October brought around 16 inches of rain to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Tucson, Arizona reported 9 inches of rain. Southeastern Minnesota reported 13 inches of rainfall in September while Florence, North Carolina received 15 inches of rainfall in early October from Hurricane Matthew.

Floods were also reported in northeastern Montana as up to 9 inches of rain fell. Despite the heavy rains in the Far West in October, no major flooding was reported.

In this pattern of wide extremes, when one area is unusually warm, someone else is often very cold, the exact opposite. For example, while we had record warmth in early November, large sections of Europe and Asia experienced very cold and snowy conditions. For many weeks beginning in late October, harsh conditions were reported in Eastern Europe and Siberia. Snow began falling in Moscow on October 29. Coverage of snowfall across Europe and Asia in early November was the third highest since records began in 1967.