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Is this Rain the "New Normal"?

Pop up afternoon thunderstorms are normal during the summer, but this year is different. Virtually every afternoon for weeks has brought drenching rains and destructive flooding.

Pop up afternoon thunderstorms are normal during the summer, but this year is different. Virtually every afternoon for weeks has brought drenching rains and destructive flooding.

Now many, including the Governor's Climate Cabinet, fear it will only become more common.

The secretary of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources, Deb Markowitz, says, "we know we're going to have more of these intense weather events- we just have to be prepared."

The problem is two fold.

First off, the world is warming. The governor takes that seriously.

"He and I both agree that that's the most important environmental issue facing Vermont, and indeed facing the world," Markowitz says.

For years climate experts have said weather extremes will be more common, including torrential rains.

Adding to the problem-more roads are being built. That increases run-off.
    
"The more run off you have, the more damage you see," according to the Secretary.

Leaders in Montpelier see this as a growing problem.

"What do we need to do to strengthen our infrastructure, to right size our infrastructure, so that we can be more resilient to the kinds of rains that we're seeing now, and we're going to see in the future," Markowitz asks.

The state says that may mean adjusting the size of culverts, choosing bridges over culverts, or reducing run-off by using things like rain barrels.

"The truth is if you get 2 to 3 inches of rain coming down in an hour it's going to destroy things- it's going to have an impact and it's hard to prepare for," says Markowitz.

While heavy rains will likely become more common in the future, keep in mind the rain we're seeing now is highly unusual. May and June were the wettest two consecutive months on record in Burlington, with over 18" of rain falling. So far July continues the trend.

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