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Why Does NJ Have Frequent Flooding Problems? [AUDIO]

As rain continues to drench the Garden State today, flood advisories and watches have been posted for several counties. If it seems to you like flooding is becoming more and more of a problem in New Jersey, the experts say you’re right.

(djperry, ThinkStock)

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“Part of the reason we’re seeing more flood watches and warnings is because rain events have become more intense than they used to be,” said New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson. “We have seen more rainfall in the Garden State in the last several decades, and we’ve also seen evidence that the rain that does fall is coming in heavier pulses.”

He said flooding problems are taking place along major rivers like the Delaware, Raritan, and in the Passaic basin, but more flash flooding is also taking place.

“That’s often the function of too much impervious surfaces in an area resulting in very rapid runoff, pavement, rooftops, parking lots,” Robinson said. “But again, you can’t look just at development and what it’s done with flooding, you have to look at the big picture, that we’re getting heavier wide-scale rain events.”

So will this pattern continue?

“We know flooding has increased because the frequency of extreme, dousing rain has increased,” Robinson said. “But the jury is out thus far on exactly why, because by their very nature, extremes are rare.”

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