July has seen heavy floods raging across the globe, with specific locations including New York and New England in the northeastern US, Zaragoza in Spain, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in northern India, and Kyushu island in Japan. Scientists and meteorologists are warning that climate change caused by global warming is intensifying the risk of heavy rain in vulnerable regions, and making extreme rainfall more likely.
In the northeastern US, 13 million Americans remained under flood watches and warnings, with nearly 12,000 homes left without power in New York state, and flash flood warnings in effect for parts of New England. In Spain, firefighters were called upon for multiple high-water rescues after raging flash floods swept through the city of Zaragoza.
In Japan, the country’s “heaviest” rains ever caused flooding and landslides, claiming the lives of three people and leaving three others missing. Roads and powerlines were interrupted, while thousands were ordered to evacuate.
In India, heavy rains continued to wreak havoc, causing at least 22 deaths in northern states, flooding homes, closing major roads, and cutting off remote communities. Schools were also closed due to heavy rainfall while authorities have relocated thousands of people living near riverbanks to safer locations.
Furthermore, heavy rain triggered widespread flooding in Orange and Ontario counties in New York state, causing hundreds of flights cancellations or delays. Road and home flooding were also reported in Cuarte de Huerva and Cadrete outside of Zaragoza.
Seasonal monsoon rains typically cause deaths and destruction to property every year, but they are growing worse due to ongoing climate change. The increasing threat of heavy rain has resulted in increased danger for flood-prone regions worldwide.
Experts warn that the world’s natural water infrastructure is becoming more unstable, pointing out that heavy downpours can easily overload sewage systems and stormwater drains, causing rivers and lakes to overflow. Climate change is also expected to increase the severity and frequency of natural disasters like hurricanes and typhoons, furthering the risk of deadly flooding.