As rainfall intensifies, cities need to prepare for more stormwater

This article discusses the impact of climate change on rainfall. As rainfall intensifies, cities need to prepare for more stormwater. The risk of catastrophic floods is rising.

High on a hill above the village of Cross Plains, Wisconsin, the rain came down in sheets against the windows of the house where I was staying. As I listened to the wind thrash tree branches, I’d never been more grateful to be on high ground. After a few hours of heavy rain, the power went out. I kept tabs on social media as flash flooding devastated the town below me.

Between the afternoon of August 20, 2018, and the next morning, 14.7 inches of rain fell on Cross Plains. Homes, businesses, bridges and parks were washed out along streets, rivers and ponds. It took six days for the main highway out of town to reopen.

The August 20 event in Cross Plains and western Dane County was deemed a 1-in-1,000-year event, which means that a rainstorm of that magnitude historically has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.

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