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Hurricane Ian’s Path Goes Inland With a Long Tail of Flood Risk

Tropical storms strengthened by climate change are creating new flood seasons in regions far from the coast

Flood waters cover South Street in Newark, New Jersey, following heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 2, 2021.

Flood waters cover South Street in Newark, New Jersey, following heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 2, 2021.

Photographer: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Hurricanes bring to mind wind-bent palm trees, whipped up surf and damaged coastal cities. But as Hurricane Ian gains strength and curves back to the mainland for the third act of its devastating performance in Florida and Cuba, the storm is set to demonstrate the long, inland tail of storms made stronger by climate change.

Rains and flooding impacts from hurricanes are felt far away from the shore. “These storms very often carry with them incredible amounts of rainfall,” said Kate Abshire, who studies flash floods for the National Weather Service, “and bring that rain very far inland.”