Guest essay by Jim Steele
The Dishonest Climate Fear-mongering headline of the week goes to USA TODAY whose headline said:
Dramatic flooding was rare in Vermont’s capital. Expect it more amid climate change.
Similar catastrophic claims were suggested throughout the click-bait media-verse from the NY Times, the Washington Post, CNN, etc., etc. Rarely does the media provide a scientific historical context, preferring to weaponize weather.
But if you read the article Climate Variability and Socioeconomic Consequences of Vermont’s Natural Hazards: A Historical Perspective published by the Vermont Historical Society in 2002, you would realize the natural truth of Vermont’s flooding.
The article states: “One of the most pervasive hazards that impinges upon and marks the Vermont landscape is flooding… Rarely does a year elapse without a flooding event of a significant magnitude being reported in at least one of Vermont’s fourteen counties or perhaps statewide, making this the number-one hazard across the state.
Complex topographic barriers such as the Green Mountains and Taconics produces enhanced precipitation totals… Vermont’s steep V-shaped valleys help to constrain the flow, creating remarkable depths of flow at tremendous speeds. As far back as 1853, Zadock Thompson noted these topographic characteristics along the Winooski, Lamoille, and Missisquoi rivers, such that by default, roads could only be constructed along the open valley floors, making them susceptible to flooding damage.
The Great Flood of 1927 resulted from record rainfall totals produced by tropical storm remnants on November 3, following October precipitation totals that were already 50 percent above normal. As this decaying storm tracked directly along the spine of the Green Mountains, streams rose so rapidly that there was little time for warning.
The Winooski River rose 40–45 feet above its normal level, causing an estimated $30 million in economic losses. The Montgomery flood of July 15, 1997 , In the towns of Montgomery, Montgomery Center, Lowell, and Wolcott at least 6 inches of rain fell in less than six hours.
Montpelier is particularly prone to flooding given its location in the Winooski River valley just upstream from the confluence with the Dog River.
Below are pictures: Montpelier Vermont from July 11, 2023 and 1927. In contrast to claims that global warming is causing more floods, the USGS discharge records show not even a hint of an upward trend. And the raging Winooski River in 1927