Texas City record rainfall bears the classic signature of climate change
Record-setting rainfall left portions of Texas City underwater in early December 2016.
Emergency Management Officials reported that a record 11 inches of rain fell over the course of several hours on the afternoon of December 3, with 48-hour rainfall totals reaching 12.66 inches. Texas City hadn't seen this much rainfall in more than two decades.
In Galveston, Texas, record amounts of rain had fallen by mid-morning on December 3. The city recorded 7.68 inches by the end of the day, nearly tripling the previous record of 2.63 inches set in 1965 and setting a new record for the month of December.
The record-breaking rainfall is consistent with the trend toward more extreme rainfall as the world warms.
Extreme rains and floods are consistent with climate change trends
A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. And like a bigger bucket, a warmer atmosphere dumps more water when it rains.
Over the past century, the US has witnessed a 20 percent increase in the amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest downpours, which has dramatically increased the risk of flooding.
Since the 1980s, a larger percentage of precipitation has come in the form of intense single-day events, and nine of the top 10 years for extreme one-day precipitation events have occurred since 1990.
Across the Great Plains, extreme precipitation has increased 16 percent from 1958 to 2012.
Houston has seen a 167 percent increase in heavy downpours since the 1950s.