Storms like those that flooded Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in August and North Carolina in October will increase by up to 400 percent by 2100. And the reason is climate change.
A study published yesterday (December 4) in the journal Nature Climate Change explores how the global shift in temperature will affect precipitation rates across North America. Some parts of the U.S. will be affected worse than others: The Southwest, Mexico, along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast will see their rainfall increase by as much as 70 percent, whereas areas like the Midwest and Pacific Northwest won’t experience as dramatic a change. The regions which will see the worst rainfall also contains some of the nation’s highest concentrations of people of color.
“Imagine the most intense thunderstorm you typically experience in a single season,” said study author Andreas Prein, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to TIME. “Our study finds that, in the future, parts of the U.S. could expect to experience five of those storms in a season, each with an intensity as strong or stronger than current storms.”
This year alone, the U.S. saw at least six storm events that have historically occurred once every 500 years, according to the National Weather Service. Hurricane Matthew and the Louisiana flooding both made the list.