Could climate change have caused the Ellicott City disaster?

EDITOR'S NOTE - Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, issued the following statement regarding the recent flood in Ellicott City, MD.

Our hearts go out to the people of Ellicott City, recovering from what is likely the worst flooding in the city’s 244-year history. All Marylanders are standing with the families and business owners that have been personally impacted by this terrible event—particularly those families that have lost loved ones.

As citizens across Maryland donate their time and money to help Ellicott City recover from this 'thousand-year' rainfall event, we must recognize that this historic flood was made more likely and more intense by climate change. A warmer planet triggers more evaporation of ocean water that must eventually come back down through extreme weather events like the tragedy in Ellicott City. As fossil fuels heat up our atmosphere, climate change is loading the dice to increase the odds of record-breaking storms.

 All of Maryland is standing with Ellicott City, and everyone should visit Ellicott City Partnership’s website to learn how to help flood victims at But as we recover from this event, we must make future disasters less likely by recognizing climate change as the public safety and national security threat that it is. We must turn off the carbon spigot by moving from fossil fuels to clean energy, and give communities the resources they need to prepare for extreme weather.

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