Quantcast

Unusual Weather Pattern Brings Tropical Depression Rosa Flooding to Southwest Desert

Climate
Projected rainfall through Wednesday. PivotalWeather.com

Remnants of Tropical Depression Rosa brought flooding to the desert Tuesday in an unusual weather pattern that meteorologists say is partly due to climate change, CNN reported.


Phoenix, Arizona saw its eighth wettest day in history, the Phoenix National Weather Service said, receiving 2.36 inches of rain.

Rosa soaked Baja California in Mexico on Monday before heading to the American Southwest, AccuWeather reported.

It is unusual for Pacific hurricanes or their remnants to reach Baja, let alone the Southwestern U.S., but that has been changing in recent years, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.

"It is possible that this could be a side effect of climate change," Norman said. "Warmer oceans are allowing eastern Pacific storms to reach higher latitudes. This was not the case earlier. It was quite rare for an eastern Pacific storm to even reach Baja California, and this is now becoming more common."

Climate change is also making tropical storms "more intense, bigger and longer-lasting, thereby increasing their potential for damage," senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Kevin Trenberth told CNN.

For Arizona drivers, that meant increased flooding on the roads Tuesday morning. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said it responded to more than 80 crashes between 5 a.m. and noon Tuesday in the Phoenix metro area.

Some, like north Phoenix resident Sandra Kotzambasis, opted not to leave the house at all. She posted a video on Twitter of a flooded street. "Needless to say, I am working from home today," she said.

Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski told AccuWeather that the higher parts of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, where the most rain was projected to fall Tuesday night, were particularly vulnerable to flash flooding. Many side roads are made of dirt, which means they are prone to washing out, he said.

He also warned residents about a phenomenon called slot canyon flash flooding. "Heavy rainfall occurring miles away from some canyon areas will flow into areas not experiencing any important rainfall leading to a fast rise in water going from a few inches to several feet flushing anything loose through these slot canyons," Kottlowski said.

Several Phoenix roads were closed Tuesday morning and schools across the region were closed Tuesday due to rain and the risk of flooding.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New pine trees grow from the forest floor along the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western boundary of Glacier National Park on Sept. 16, 2019 near West Glacier, Montana. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Alex Kirby

New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.

Read More
Household actions lead to changes in collective behavior and are an essential part of social movements. Pixabay / Pexels

By Greg McDermid, Joule A Bergerson, Sheri Madigan

Hidden among all of the troubling environmental headlines from 2019 — and let's face it, there were plenty — was one encouraging sign: the world is waking up to the reality of climate change.

So now what?

Read More
Sponsored
Logging state in the U.S. is seen representing some of the consequences humans will face in the absence of concrete action to stop deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis. Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Talk is cheap, says the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who begged governments around the world to make sure that 2020 is not another year of conferences and empty promises, but instead is the year to take decisive action to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and the destruction of habitat-sustaining ecosystems, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
The people of Kiribati have been under pressure to relocate due to sea level rise. A young woman wades through the salty sea water that flooded her way home on Sept. 29, 2015. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Refugees fleeing the impending effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, according to a new decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as CNN reported. The new decision could open up a massive wave of legal claims by displaced people around the world.

Read More
The first day of the Strike WEF march on Davos on Jan. 18, 2020 near Davos, Switzerland. The activists want climate justice and think the WEF is for the world's richest and political elite only. Kristian Buus / In Pictures via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is returning to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum with a strong and clear message: put an end to the fossil fuel "madness."

Read More