San Diego flooding reached historic proportions on Monday as the city, typically basking in sunshine, faced its wettest January day on record. The National Weather Service reported a staggering 2.73 inches of precipitation, breaking the previous record from January 1979. Furthermore, this event became the fourth greatest single-day rainfall in San Diego’s 174-year weather documentation history.

The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative warns that such extreme rainfall events are becoming more frequent and intense. Their assessments indicate a clear trend of escalating flood risks, suggesting that climate change is indeed playing a role.

Wettest January in San Diego

Car roof visible above floodwaters.

During a press briefing, Mayor Gloria shared insights from a recent gathering in Washington with fellow US mayors. He highlighted a consensus among the attendees: the climate crisis is driving extreme weather patterns, which have now become the expected norm.

“It doesn’t matter what mayor from what part of the country, what you see is people having experiences exactly like this one,” he stressed. “We’re used to snow, but not this much snow, or, we’re used to rain but not this much rain. These unusual weather patterns that are really beyond people’s typical experience… it’s exactly what all of us are describing and why so many of us are so active on the issue of climate change.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked such extreme precipitation events to global warming. Warmer air and ocean temperatures increase water evaporation, leading to more moisture in the atmosphere. This can result in more intense precipitation events, like heavier rain and snow storms, which pose risks like crop damage, soil erosion, and increased flood risks.

Coverage by ABC13 Houston expands the narrative, observing how climate change has led to erratic weather across the United States, with flash flooding in San Diego and freezing conditions elsewhere, underscoring the widespread impact of these environmental shifts.

While officials and experts may differ on the nuances, the consensus is growing clearer: climate change is no longer a distant threat but a current reality, reshaping weather patterns and amplifying natural disasters like the recent San Diego flooding. It is a stark reminder of the urgent need for climate resilience and proactive measures.

Image Source: NBC News/Santa Maria Times