Why is so much of the US under water?

Why is so much of the US under water?

From BBC

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Five hundred acres of Blake Hurst’s farm in Westboro, Missouri, are under water.

“In the first round of flooding, we had over 150 acres under water,” Mr Hurst recalls. “A lot of it had been planted, so those crops are lost.”

That was in March, when the Midwest’s first bout of heavy rainstorms coupled with melting snow saw rivers inundate communities. “It’s been one damn thing after another.”

Since then, America’s heartland has had little reprieve from rain. May was the second-wettest month in recorded US history.

In addition to rain, the thunderstorms brought a slew of tornados – over 500 in May alone, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service (NWS).

And all the while, rivers and lakes continued to fill and crest, breaking years of records, pouring over levees and barriers, covering highways, bridges and towns. There have been over 35 flood-related deaths in the region so far, according to NWS.

“The US is split in two for hundreds of miles,” says Mr Hurst, who is the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, describing the water’s sprawl from north of Omaha, Nebraska, down past St Louis, Missouri.

As of 10 June, around 200 river gauges along the Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas rivers are still reporting flood levels, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“We’ve seen more flooding in the past decade than we’ve seen in the decades before. This has gone past that into something historic.”

Environmental scientist Prof Samuel Munoz of Northeastern University also says 2019 will make the history books.

It’s “unusual” for the Great Plains and Midwest, he notes, to see this number of repeated strong storms and severe weather in one spring.

Part of that could be because of El Niño – a natural weather

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