Historic 100 year rains falling more often in Wisconsin

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This past weekend's heavy storms caused flooding in many local counties and experts say once-in-a lifetime rains have been falling more often in Wisconsin

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say many parts of Wisconsin have seen historic 100 year rains several times in the last decade. While unusual weather patterns like this can be difficult to manage, Buffalo County officials say they do the best to prepare for anything. The area saw about five inches of rainfall this week.

"Rains and flooding isn't new to Buffalo County. Buffalo County like other counties have certain areas that are prone to be impacted by these kinds of events and with this last rain event, the areas we expected to be impacted by the heavy rain were," said Bruce Fuerbringer, Director of Emergency Management.

This week's flooding closed many roads and parks in both Eau Claire and buffalo counties, resulting in record rain totals. Heavy storms projected to only occur once in a lifetime have happened several times in Wisconsin. “There's definitely no doubt that we've seen an increase in some of these very high end rain events that have led to what they occasionally call that 100 year flood or event 1000 year flood," said Darren Maier, Skywarn 13’s Chief Meteorologist.

He says this trend isn’t just happening in Wisconsin but other parts of the country and possibly the world are seeing increased extreme weather events. He says climate change plays a part in unusual weather patterns. "In theory, a warming world, if this is occurring, warmer air can hold more moisture so if that is occurring which there’s a lot of evidence that suggests that is indeed happening...we're adding more moisture and that is allowing for these heavier rain episodes," he says.

Buffalo County officials say they prepare for unusual weather as best they can. Fuerbringer says if extreme weather depletes county resources, they do have access to other emergency resources and work with other counties and even state officials if necessary to keep the community safe.

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