Extreme Rainfall - NYC Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
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Extreme Rainfall

Climate change will cause more frequent and intense rainfall in both coastal and inland areas.

Extreme rainfall events, sometimes called “cloudbursts,” occur when a large amount of rain falls in a short time. Extreme rain can cause flooding in low-lying areas that have poor drainage and insufficient stormwater infrastructure systems. This can cause flooding throughout the City, even in inland neighborhoods. Rain-driven flooding can occur suddenly and intensely, but flood conditions may subside more quickly compared to coastal surge flooding.

Extreme rainfall events will increase in number and severity in the future because of climate change. By the end of the century, the city could experience as much as 30 percent more annual rainfall than today, and 1.5 times as many days with more than one inch of rain. Additionally, as sea level and groundwater tables rise, stormwater will drain more slowly and contribute to flooding.

The maps show a range of flood scenarios to help New Yorkers understand how stormwater flood patterns may change over time.

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