Harvey’s ‘Biblical’ rainfall is getting more likely

David J. Phillip

FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 file photo, water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise in Houston. The chances of a hurricane drenching Texas, like Harvey did, have soared six fold in just a quarter century with global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, says a new study published Monday, Nov. 12, 2017, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chances of a hurricane flooding parts of Texas, like Harvey did, have soared sixfold in just 25 years because of global warming and will likely triple once again before the end of the century, a new study says.

Study author Kerry Emanuel, a meteorology professor and hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that what was once an extremely rare event — 20 inches of rain over a large area of Texas — could soon be almost common.

From 1981 to 2000, the probability of 20 inches of rain happening somewhere over a large chunk of Texas was 1 in 100 or even less, Emanuel said. Now it’s 6 in 100 and by 2081, those odds will be 18 in 100, he said.

“The changes in probabilities are because of global warming,” Emanuel said.

The study was released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Emanuel said he hurried the study to help Houston officials think about what conditions they should consider when they rebuild.

Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said he was struck by the potential for much higher rainfall that Emanuel’s simulations predict for the future and how important it is for the design…

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