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Posted Wed Sep 18 2013: from NewScientist:
Heatwave and wildfires worsened Colorado flooding
A truly ferocious and exceptional event. That is how Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, describes the storm that pummelled his state last week. "This was a once-in-1000-year rainfall," he says, meaning that the storm was of such an intensity and duration that it had a 1-in-1000 chance of occurring in any given year in Colorado.... That huge volume was due in part to a lingering heatwave that for months blocked tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching the Rocky Mountains, he says. When that heatwave began to move east last week, weak winds allowed the growing storm system to sit above the Colorado peaks for days. Once that deluge hit the ground, more trouble awaited. Because of Colorado's mountainous terrain, the region is flood-prone anyway but recent wildfires exacerbated things near Boulder and Fort Collins, two areas hardest hit by floodwaters. The fires had cleared land of vegetation that would normally absorb rainwater, says Trenberth.
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, ecosystem interrelationships, weather extremes]

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'Doc Jim says:
Nice to have the flooding placed in an apocalyptic context.

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