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Rains and Floods in Tennessee

Written by Youthopeian's Hyderabad Chapter

On August 21st, 2021, Tennessee received 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, 3.4 inches greater than ever recorded. The heavy rainfall led to flash floods and the destruction of roads, trees, and other infrastructure. It has been confirmed that at least 22 people died that day while over 700 homes were affected due to the flooding. The flash flooding was caused by rising global temperatures and the disruption of the water cycle. The damage brought was so severe that President Joe Biden approved for federal funds to be released.

Flash floods have become more common as climate change continues to worsen. This is because hot air, caused by global warming, holds more moisture which makes downpours stronger. Air has become 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer due to global warming. Additionally, the heat dries the soil, causing it to become less water absorbent. This prevents the percolation of water into the ground, causing floods to be more dangerous. Climate change disrupts the water cycle, causing extreme floods and longer and heavier rains.

Examples of flooding can be seen in a multitude of places around the world. In Australia, over 25 inches of rain fell in under 24 hours in Queensland. In South Africa, at least 7 people died due to flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall. In Indonesia, floods have killed at least 6 people and have displaced thousands. In Brazil, torrential floods were caused after almost 4 inches of rain fell in only 2 hours.

It is estimated that approximately 250 thousand people in the US live in areas prone to flooding. The flash floods in Tennessee serve as an example of how dangerous the impacts of climate change can be on coastal or at-risk of flooding localities.