Forecasters Say Wet Summer Could Add To Flooding

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(Host)  Weather forecasters say conditions for the next couple of weeks should be drier than they’ve been. 

But they say it will take time for groundwater and lake levels to return to normal after record spring rains. 

As VPR’s Steve Zind reports, that could add to flooding problems if there is more heavy rain in coming weeks or even months.

(Zind) One reason successive rains led to widespread flooding this spring is once the ground was saturated, the water had nowhere to go but into already swollen lakes and rivers.

Meteorologist Andy Nash of the National Weather Service in Burlington says even with a respite from wet weather, there’s  danger of more flooding because of this spring’s rain.

(Nash)  "The biggest worry that we have is as we get toward the late summer and into the fall, if we have even a normal summer with rainfall, the ground is so wet now its not going to dry out tremendously, then if we have a tropical storm or hurricane come up the coast and give us 5 inches, 6, 10 inches of rain like Floyd in 1999, that will be devastating."

(Host)  Climatologist Curt Stager of  Paul Smiths College in New York State says the spring flooding is providing a glimpse into the future. Stager authored a study on the effects of climate change on the Lake Champlain basis. 

The report projects average annual rainfall will increase by the end of the century. But Stager says this spring’s weather doesn’t mean that the prediction has already come to pass.

(Stager) "You can’t definitively link it to the global warming trend but rather than seeing it as a sign that global warming is causing this, it’s more useful to see it as an example of what that future is likely to have."

(Host) Stager says collecting aerial photos and other information from this spring’s weather could provide valuable insights on the effects of future flooding. 

That’s something the weather service says its undertaking in hopes of providing more accurate predictions about flood damage in years to come. 

For VPR news, I’m Steve Zind.

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