Midwest Seeing More Frequent Flooding

 
Mississippi River flood waters in Vicksburg, Miss., in 2011.

Mississippi River flood waters in Vicksburg, Miss., in 2011.

(Dave Martin/AP)

Floods in the midwest and nearby states are not getting bigger, they're just occurring more often. That's the conclusion of a new study by the University of Iowa Flood Center after looking at 50 years of river levels in 14 states.

Assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gabriele Villarini, says the rising number of floods is due to more rain.  

"Overall, you see that there has been an increasing number of heavy rainfall days, rather than an increasing the magnitude of largest rainfall days," he said.

Villarini is now studying what might be causing that - his results won't ready for a few months but he says "it seems to be driven by climate change." One theory is that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, and that can lead to increased precipitation.

The Flood Center study was published online in February by the journal, Nature Climate Change. 

Story source: Illinois Public Radio