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Sat Mar 14, 2020, 09:29 AM

Eastern Shore Outlook: By 2040 Expect 100-Year Rainstorms To Produce An Extra 0.5-1.5" Per 24 Hours

Climate change will fuel heavier downpours and deeper floodwaters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, according to one of the first detailed looks at changing rainfall patterns at the local level in the mid-Atlantic.

The new report, a collaboration between the University of Maryland and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, estimates rainfall totals and intensity for five towns on the Mid and Upper shores. It predicts that by the 2040s, a 100-year storm will dump an additional 0.5-inch to 1.5-inches of rainfall over 24 hours, depending on the location.

That might not sound like much of a difference. But when it comes to planning for new roads, drainage ditches and other types of infrastructure, it is, said Jim Bass, manager of the conservancy’s coastal resilience program. “This was a great opportunity to bring some specificity to this phenomenon that everyone agrees is going on,” he said. “You can’t plan for what you don’t know.”

Many coastal communities across the country are struggling to get ready for rising seas, greater storm frequency and other climate-related impacts. The rural towns represented in the Eastern Shore study face a bigger challenge, Bass said, because their public works staffs and budgets are smaller than most of their counterparts.



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