That was a lot of precipitation.
My plan was to spend the rain filled pandemic holiday relaxing and shamelessly plugging my upcoming book, Disposable City.
But in South Florida, climate change doesn’t just mean higher seas – it also means more intense rainstorms, like the ones we saw over the weekend.
And with the rains come floods.
Cut to the videos of stalled sedans floundering in sodden Miami streets (courtesy of Aaron DeMayo, Futurevisionstudios.us)
So, how much rain fell over Memorial Day weekend 2020?
Over the course of the three day weekend, the South Florida Water Management District “Raindar” estimates that parts of Coastal Miami-Dade saw up 10.5 inches of rain. Parts of coastal Broward were hit with up to 9 inches. One section of coastal Palm Beach County saw up to 11.2 inches.
The National Weather Service, which provides more accurate analyses of rainfall, but which does not appear to provide a 3-day product, estimates the totals over Memorial Day in this handy map:
For context, the average May rainfall total for the past 30 years in South Florida is about 4.9 inches, according to the SFWMD.
That means that places in South Florida got more than a months worth of rain in one weekend. Some got that much rain in a day.
Climate science predicts that intense rain will become more common.
The physics is simple – hotter air carries more water because the molecules are spaced farther apart.
And Humans are pumping gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, spiking temperatures.
So remarkable increases in big rain events are becoming the norm.
For example, across the contiguous 48 United States, an increasing proportion of the total precipitation is already falling in extreme, one day events.
But I was supposed to be shamelessly plugging my book.
So – if you want to learn more about what folks in South Florida are (and aren’t) doing to adapt to this new reality, please go ahead and buy it.
Kirkus book reviews called it “A forceful depiction of a global crisis viewed through the lens of one of the world’s most vulnerable cities.”
And also consider getting some galoshes.