Urban development reduces flash flooding chances in arid West

Urban development in the eastern United States results in an increase in flash flooding in nearby streams, but in the arid West, urbanization has just the opposite effect, according to a Penn State researcher, who suggests there may be lessons to be learned from the sharp contrast.

The research findings were unique because they documented for the first time the reduced flashiness of arid urban streams in the West and showed what a big role so-called “dry weather flows” are playing in overall streamflow patterns. IMAGE: LAUREN MCPHILLIPS