Study: Destructive Flood Risk in U.S. West Could Triple if Climate Change Left Unchecked

This article discusses the problems the Western states will face because of climate change. Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada communities are at risk from rapidly rising rivers, as ‘rain-on-snow’ flash floods become more frequent under climate change.

The risk of devastating floods like the one that damaged California’s Oroville Dam in 2017 will soar in many of North America’s Western river basins by 2100, if we don’t dramatically slow climate change, according to a new study Monday.

The research provides a grim analysis of a particularly destructive kind of extreme weather event called a “rain-on-snow” flood. Common in mountain regions—and increasing as temperatures rise—these events happen when heavy rains fall on top of deep snowpack, melting it and triggering intense floods.

California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Rocky Mountains west of Denver and parts of the Canadian Rockies are especially vulnerable, according to the research published in Nature Climate Change.

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