Historic Flooding Swamps Louisiana: More Than 20,000 Rescued From Cars and Homes
An unusually wet tropical storm, fed by above average sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, has dumped record amounts of rain in Louisiana since Friday, flooding homes, killing at least six and forcing 20,000 people to flee the rapidly rising waters.
During storms that normally occur only once every 500 years, five cities received rainfall totaling more than two feet while nine river gauges reported record flooding. Gov. John Bel Edwards called the situation "truly historic" and President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the state.
The torrential rainfall, which has moved on to Texas, fits with the observed increase in extreme rainfall events linked to climate change. As the world warms, storms are able to feed on warmer ocean water and the air is able to hold and dump more water.
For a deeper dive:
Commentary: Pacific Standard, Eric Holthaus column
Background: Climate Signals