Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster, producing millions of dollars of destruction every year, and this year will be no exception. In just the last two weeks, there has been major flash flood events in St. Louis, Eastern Kentucky, parts of Virginia and West Virginia, and Death Valley.Property
In fact, the National Centers for Environmental Information in the last 10 years reports that floods have caused at least $50 billion in damage in the U.S. So how can meteorologists help with events after the rain has stopped? Forensic meteorology.
Forensic meteorologists are called on to consult on legal and insurance cases resulting from violent or high-impact storms. They can reconstruct any questioned weather conditions that occurred at a specific time and location, by gathering and analyzing atmospheric data that was available at the time and recreating the timeline of meteorological events, much like a detective might solve crimes.
Forensic meteorologists may also perform research, modeling, and testing, to come to accurate conclusions.
Flooding events like the ones we continue to see can be a major factor in a broad range of insurance claims and civil and criminal cases, long after the water recedes.