Following the devastating flooding in South and North Carolina after the states received almost 30 inches of rain in four days has been horrifying.
Vermonters and Valley residents know firsthand what it’s like to live through devastating flooding. We know the hurt, the property loss, the infrastructure destruction, the mud, the cleanup and the rebuilding.
We know just how very awful it is when Mother Nature deals your state something as awful as this flooding. We know what it’s like when our fellow citizens lose their lives during flooding. South and North Carolina, we feel your pain, we share it.
And the entire nation and world should take heed because if we don’t reverse the trend toward global warming, the floods and extreme weather incidents will be coming with much greater frequency and we’ll all be feeling that pain more often.
The flooding in South Carolina (and North Carolina) was the result of what the weather gurus called a “fire hose” that mixed parts of Hurricane Joaquin with another storm event. So, yes there was absolutely an element of chance in this 1,000-year flood, but this type of supercharged storm system is what climate scientists have been warning us about. Supercharged storms that drop enormous amounts of precipitation in a short amount of time are associated with climate change.
These types of incidents will increase in frequency, as we’ve seen here in Vermont. The Mad River Valley was hit by a 500-year flood in 1998 and then almost the entire state of Vermont was hit by a 500-year flood in 2011.
Right now Carolinians are waiting for the massive rainfall to drain through the lowlands, hoping more bridges, dams and roads don’t fail. Some 400 roads and 58 bridges and 11 dams are gone. Another 35 dams are being monitored. Seventeen people died, 15 in South Carolina, two in North Carolina. Thirty thousand are without power. No one yet knows how many homes and businesses have been destroyed.
Let’s help the people in the Carolinas and let’s also help ourselves and help the planet by taking climate change for the very serious matter that it is. How many events like this will it take?