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The new normal non-normal

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Ida’s northern carnage shows how unprepared most of our infrastructure is for the era of climate change:

The remnants of Hurricane Ida unloaded a historic and catastrophic deluge on New York City and the surrounding region Wednesday and has been linked to at least 41 deaths in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

The death toll from the storm in the Northeast, more than a thousand miles from where it made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, may seem surprising. Four main factors contributed to this disaster:

  1. The exceptional rate at which the rain fell, spurred by a complex set of meteorological factors.
  2. The region’s vulnerability to flooding, due to urban and suburban sprawl that creates areas where water can’t run off.
  3. Very heavy rain before the event, which left waterways already near capacity. For example, New York City received over 10 inches of rain in August, its fourth-highest amount on record during the month.
  4. Climate change intensifying excessive rainfall.

It will get worse before it gets better.

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