Study: Atmospheric Rivers Cause $1 Billion in Damage a Year — and Are Getting Worse

Weather
A man peers beyond the porch of his home, which was undermined by floodwater in February 2019 in Lake Elsinore’s Leach Canyon.(Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A man peers beyond the porch of his home, which was undermined by floodwater in February 2019 in Lake Elsinore’s Leach Canyon.(Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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As back-to-back atmospheric rivers have made umbrellas a necessity across the state — and with more rain on the way in California this weekend — a new study reveals the connection between the weather phenomenon and the economic effects of localized flooding.

Atmospheric rivers, the storms that carry moisture from the tropics to the mid-latitude regions, have long been linked to the ecological impacts they have on a region. But when the storm passes, what’s left in its wake?

In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers found that from 1978 to 2017, atmospheric rivers accounted for $42.6 billion in flood damage in 11 Western states — 84% of the estimated total water-related damage of $50.8 billion. That’s roughly $1.1 billion in damage done by atmospheric rivers every year.

“Research has shown that these storms are going to become more intense over the coming decades,” said Tom Corringham, one of the authors of the study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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