The Midwest has been hit hard by rains over the past several weeks.
Some counties in south central Illinois have seen some of their highest July and August rain totals on record. Recently, Effingham recorded between 10 to 11 inches of rain in a single day.
Just a few days ago, Freeport in northern Illinois experienced a storm that caused flash flooding.
“It’s been a pretty rough few weeks in Illinois,” said Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist.
While these weather events are consequences of individual weather patterns, climate change does play a role, Ford said. The kinds of stormy weather patterns that set up the right environment for intense rainfalls are occurring more frequently, he said.
He said having more water vapor, and the potential for more water in the air through humidity, provides more energy and water for a storm’s rainfall when they do occur.
“Both of those conditions have a climate change fingerprint on them,” Ford said. “Meaning that these sorts of rain events that have historically had an estimated 1 in 100, 500 or 1,000 year time recurrence interval are occurring a lot more frequently.”