Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 11:30AM
Drew Wolfe

When '1-In-100-Year' Floods Happen Often, What Should You Call Them?

"The Mississippi River is rising again as torrential rain falls across much of the Midwest. It's the latest in a series of storms that have flooded major cities and small communities along the length of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers on and off for more than a month."

"In some places, homes and businesses in what's known as the 100-year flood plain have been hit by multiple floods in a matter of weeks. One St. Louis suburb has now suffered three major floods since 2015, at least two of which were approximately 1-in-100-year events."

"When these sorts of floods happen back to back, many residents might start to wonder: Why are they even called 100-year floods?"

"'The educated layperson or elected officials, they think, 'Well, you scientists and engineers can't get it straight because we had a 100-year flood two years ago! Why are we having another one? You guys must have your numbers wrong.' It makes people think we don't know what we're doing,' says Robert Holmes, the national flood hazard coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey."


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