United States: in the American West, the drought could give way to exceptional floods

Part of the western United States already severely affected by a historic drought has been placed on exceptional flood alert, meteorological services announced on Friday.


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UA “significant period of precipitation” could affect the states of Arizona and New Mexico, causing exceptional flooding, especially in regions ravaged by fires, the National Weather Service (NWS) said on Friday. And nearly 15 centimeters of precipitation expected in places.



Heavy rainfall is expected in particular “in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico today (Friday) and Saturday,” the same source said. The western United States is experiencing its 23rd year of drought and these cycles are being exacerbated by human-induced climate change.

The risk of heavy precipitation events increases with increasing temperature. But sudden heavy rains don’t necessarily help.

“If the water falls heavily in a very short time, it flows,” meteorologist Chris Rasmussen, from the NWS in Tucson, Arizona, told AFP. “She doesn’t have time to be really absorbed by the ground as we would like to see it”.



At the beginning of the month, intense and very rare rainfalls in the famous and desert Death Valley, in California, had caused significant flooding.


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