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Were Kentucky’s Floods Caused By Climate Change?

August 9, 2022

By Paul Homewood


From the Guardian:




Joe Biden on Monday toured parts of eastern Kentucky devastated by the worst flooding in the state’s history and pledged to help recovery, while his spokesperson warned that the climate crisis was having an impact on such events there and across America.

At least 37 people have died in the flooding since a deluge late last month that dropped up to 10.5in of rain on Kentucky in only 48 hours.

An earlier report in the Guardian commented:

Heatwaves are getting ‘more dangerous and deadly’ from climate change as catastrophic flash flooding leaves at least 28 people dead.As the flash floods in Kentucky claim lives and continue to leave behind a trail of devastation, residents and officials in the state are increasingly grappling with the costly impacts of the climate crisis.

Earlier this week, the state saw eight to 10 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period, marking what experts are calling a 1-in-1,000 year rain event. Amid the onslaught of rain and catastrophic flash flooding, at least 28 people have died while dozens more are reported injured.

As ever, the claims are rubbish and fraudulent. The record 24-hour rainfall in Kentucky stands at more than 10 inches, and was set in 1997:



Trends in extreme rainfall are not on the rise in Kentucky:


 Observed Number of 2-Inch Extreme Precipitation Events

And heatwaves there are much less extreme than they used to be:


Observed Number of Extremely Hot Days

As is usually the case, the media interviews the locals, who understandably say “this is the worst we have ever seen”. Of course it is, because these are small-scale, localised events, and people’s experience only dates back a couple of decades or so.

The harsh reality, however, is that floods like these happen, and have always happened, somewhere or other every year. They have nothing to do with climate change.

  1. that man permalink
    August 9, 2022 10:48 am

    Good analysis again, Paul.
    One would have thought, though, that even Guardianus hacks are aware of their fraudulent ‘journalism’. It is, therefore, particularly nauseating that they use people’s sufferings to promote their ‘narrative’.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 9, 2022 6:28 pm

      “One would have thought, though, that even Guardianus hacks are aware of their fraudulent ‘journalism’.”
      Of course they are, that’s what they’re paid for.
      They’re just hoping that their readers aren’t – and in the case of Grauniad aficionados, they’re probably right!

  2. Gamecock permalink
    August 9, 2022 10:50 am

    No tragedy is too severe for the Left not to exploit. They don’t care whose body they stand on.

    “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

  3. Gamecock permalink
    August 9, 2022 10:53 am

    “Heatwaves are getting ‘more dangerous and deadly’ from climate change as catastrophic flash flooding leaves at least 28 people dead.”

    Do they have no editors at the Guardian?

    • August 9, 2022 12:10 pm

      No, they have Kommissars instead …

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      August 9, 2022 2:39 pm

      Actually heatwaves are NOT getting ‘more deadly’, as mortality rates from weather and climate related causes have collapsed by >95% over the last century.

      That doesn’t make for a dramatic headline, though.

  4. Captain Flint permalink
    August 9, 2022 10:59 am


    Could you possibly do a tutorial that shows us ordinary punters where to look for the trusted references and data that you do? I am constantly aghast at the lack of diligence undertaken by any of the MSM.

  5. Martin Brumby permalink
    August 9, 2022 11:14 am

    “locals, who understandably say “this is the worst we have ever seen”. Of course it is, because these are small-scale, localised events, and people’s experience only dates back a couple of decades or so.”

    Quite correct. But my inner Elephant’s Child—(who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity), asks “How many interviews with old local codgers, who responded, “Bullshit! Much worse in the ’30s, sonny”, ended up littered on the cutting room floor?

    It has frequently been observed that the MSM are content to spend hours on an interview before catching the 10 seconds they intend to use.

    • dfhunter permalink
      August 9, 2022 11:57 pm

      Martin, yes I often wonder how many people they (BBC/MSM) have interviewed to get a sobbing soundbite they air.

  6. Clodhopper permalink
    August 9, 2022 11:18 am

    There have been freak storms in UK, from time to time – even in the distant past
    My father and father-in-law both spoke of such an event in north Shropshire, engraved on their memories. On May 20th 1924, 9ins rain fell in 24 hours. There’s nothing new under the sun, as they used to say!

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 9, 2022 11:46 am

    Tony Heller has done quite a lot on these flood claims. Anyway I raise you 79 dead July 1939 in a link I found.
    As always plenty of hits on Pathe News.

  8. August 9, 2022 12:12 pm

    Heavy summer rain events are not uncommon in the Southern Appalachians. They are often not associated with hurricane aftermath, either.

    A recent article addresses some of this:
    “A Precipitation and Flood Climatology with Synoptic Features of Heavy Rainfall across the Southern Appalachian Mountains” by David M. Gaffin and David G. Hotz
    (From the article abstract)…
    “August was found to be the most active month for reports of flash flooding across the southern Appalachian Mountains due to the influence of local thunderstorms. Flash flood reports during the spring and summer months peaked during the afternoon and evening hours”, …….. “Heavy rain events, defined as producing 3 inches or more in a 6-hour or less time period and/or 4 inches or more in a 12-hour or less time period, were found to occur mainly during the summer months across the southern Appalachian region due to the prevalence of convective events, while the winter months experienced none due to the prevalence of stratiform events.”

    These events pop up suddenly in the Southern Appalachians with huge rain dumps. Due to our mountainous terrain, there is no place for the water to go.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 9, 2022 5:08 pm

      So you are saying warm air holds lots of moisture then when it rises because of mountains it rains a lot?


      • August 10, 2022 12:19 pm

        Even the “experts” say so…. Here is an account of the horrific floods across southern West Virginia in June, 2016 from the National Weather Service:

        On Thursday, June 23, 2016, several rounds of thunderstorms producing torrential rainfall over nearly the same area moved southeast through portions of the central Appalachians. These storms were associated with a nearly stationary frontal boundary which helped to focus an extremely moist air mass. The diverse topography of the area likely enhanced rainfall intensity – resulting in catastrophic flash flooding, historic river flooding, and 23 fatalities in West Virginia.

        Approximately 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in less than a 12-hour period in the most severely impacted areas of Greenbrier County, WV. The Greenbrier River at Alderson, WV reached 22 feet, its 3rd highest on record.

        I could not help but notice that articles on flood history of the Southern Appalachians has been basically wiped since I last looked at it a couple of years ago.

  9. Gerry, England permalink
    August 9, 2022 12:17 pm

    Yes, if there was some major flooding around here it would be the worst I have ever seen…but then I only arrived here in early 2015. Had I moved a bit earlier then I would have experienced being cut off by flooding on all roads into this area. And I suspect that it was much worse in 1968 when there was major flooding from the rivers Mole and Eden, and an Eden tributary comes through here.

    • August 9, 2022 1:26 pm

      If the River Mole you mention is the one which feeds into the Thames near Hampton Court, then I recall it flooding in 1968 and entering into the ground floor flats where we were living, on the 2nd floor. Funny though; it wasn’t blamed on climate change 🤣🤣

      • August 9, 2022 2:28 pm

        The river Mole is notorious for its flooding frequency.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        August 9, 2022 2:59 pm

        The Environment Agency obviously haven’t carried out any more improvement works since then.

      • August 9, 2022 4:30 pm

        I had an uncle who lived along the Mole and they were forever having to abandon their house. This was from the 50’s to 80’s and they researched the river and found this flooding had always happened, no doubt made worse by building on the flood plain since Victorian times and not dredging the river in more modern times

      • devonblueboy permalink
        August 9, 2022 4:58 pm

        To be fair to the River Mile, the flooding was on a wider scale in September 1968. The Thames came within inches of overflowing its banks in Maidenhead and inundating the Thames Hotel.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        August 9, 2022 4:59 pm

        Or even the River Mole

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 10, 2022 12:08 pm

        Yes, that’s the one. So named as when there are dry summers it disappears underground to continue flowing. In 1976 we walked on the river bed at Leatherhead and tried to find where it went into or came out of the caverns.

        The Mole seems to have a lot of restrictive bridges. I used to commute across at Betchworth and there it would often flood into an area upstream of the bridge. The footway was even raised above the carriageway so you could get to the bridge. Of course there could be an element of the river level being allowed to rise due to lack of dredging making the bridge arch look small.

        And on that subject I visited to Ouse Valley viaduct at the weekend and was amazed to learn that the 11 million odd bricks came up the river from Newhaven. Hard to believe now but then there used to locks along part of the Ouse when it provided a transport route.

  10. C Lynch permalink
    August 9, 2022 12:33 pm

    A true believer acquaintance of mine was referencing this recently as proof of man made global warming causing extreme weather. I knew it was bull crap but now I’ve solid facts to go back to him with – thanks Paul.

  11. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 9, 2022 12:40 pm

    Things haven’t changed in a thousand years, including price of food rising, Anglo Saxon Chronicle

    A.D. 1005. This year died Archbishop Elfric; and Bishop Elfeah
    succeeded him in the archbishopric. This year was the great
    famine in England so severe that no man ere remembered such.
    A.D. 1009 there came such a
    wind against them, as no man remembered before;
    A.D. 1032. This year appeared that wild fire, such as no man
    ever remembered before
    A.D. 1044 This year there was very great hunger over
    all England, and corn so dear as no man remembered before; so
    that the sester of wheat rose to sixty pence, and even further.
    A.D. 1046 And in the
    same year, after Candlemas, came the strong winter, with frost
    and with snow, and with all kinds of bad weather; so that there
    was no man then alive who could remember so severe a winter as
    this was, both through loss of men and through loss of cattle;
    yea, fowls and fishes through much cold and hunger perished.

    • JBW permalink
      August 9, 2022 3:13 pm

      Interesting – I had to look up what a sester was.
      “Latin, sextarium.
      The sextarium was a measure of unknown and probably variable quantity since there are references in Domesday to both royal and local standards, to dry and liquid measures, and to large and small sesters. Early in the next century, Henry of Huntingdon equated the Anglo-Saxon sester with a horse-load (Historian Anglorum, edited by Diana Greenway (1996), pages 374-75).
      The sester was the most common measure of volume in Domesday Book, used for quantities of barley, flour, honey, oats, rye, salt, wheat and wine. It may normally have represented about 2 pints in liquid volume, and 16 bushels as a dry measure, as often in later times.
      For more detail, see Philip Grierson, ‘Weights and measures’, Domesday Book: studies, edited by Ann Williams and R.W.H. Erskine (1987), pages 80-85.”

    • JBW permalink
      August 9, 2022 3:41 pm

      At a quick search as to the value of 60d in todays money, is of the order of £1200!
      Difficult to be exact of course but a good starter for ten.

  12. W Flood permalink
    August 9, 2022 1:00 pm

    The Tennesee River was notorious for flooding . Tamed in the 1930s. Now which state is next to Kentucky? Hmm lemme think.

    • Broadlands permalink
      August 9, 2022 2:13 pm

      There is a certain sweet irony that according to NOAA’s Climate at a Glance pages, both Kentucky and Al Gore’s home state of Tennessee are two US sates that have not had a record warm year since 1921. One hundred years with no “global” warming. Mississippi is another.

      • August 9, 2022 8:31 pm

        South Carolina’s 2012 record is completely fake.

  13. Mark Hodgson permalink
    August 9, 2022 1:32 pm

    Paul, there is an excellent analysis by John Ridgway at Cliscep here:

  14. August 9, 2022 3:03 pm

    Similar to the “1000 year rain event” that recently hit Death Valley, California., and in 1911, 1923, 1988, and 2004. (

  15. August 9, 2022 3:48 pm

    As ever they rely on climate models heavily biased towards warming due to ‘greenhouse’ gases (that are mostly water vapour, but never mind). Then the models run too hot, but that doesn’t stop them claiming humans are the cause of actual warming.

    Of course the models don’t recognise any natural warming factors such as cloud variation, so humans are bound to get the blame. Unless or until these models are scientifically discredited, the current nonsense seems bound to go on.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 9, 2022 5:12 pm

      I have yet to see the actual scientists claim “this could only have happened with climate change.” I don’t believe we have had a weather event that their models say is impossible without climate change to put it another way. Instead we get their silly attribution studies and claims of 30 times more likely – for an event that 100% happened!

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        August 9, 2022 8:55 pm

        Talk about silly attribution studies, the one about the recent couple of days of hot weather in the UK claimed the Cranwell (Lincolnshire ) figures were a once in 1500 year event. Given that the temperatures were recorded at RAF Cranwell one wonders how long they think the Royal Air Force has had bases for!

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    August 9, 2022 5:14 pm

    Once in a thousand year events happen. Over 20,000 years, they will happen 20 times. When we can’t tell and if they are random they will cluster.

    So I’m really not sure what that claim is all about?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      August 10, 2022 1:58 pm

      In fact Phoenix, according to the late great Terry Pratchett, one in a million events happen nine times out of ten!

  17. eastdevonoldie permalink
    August 9, 2022 5:39 pm

    “Climate is the long-term weather pattern in an area, typically averaged over 30 years”

    Reference: (2021). “Annex VII. Glossary: IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (PDF). IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. p. 2222.

    I have lived in an East Devon village continuously for exactly 25 years this month – there has been no significant change in the climate, Yes, there have been a few bad weather events, we have had snow twice in that period, heavy rain causing minor flooding twice 1997 and 2004, Ottery St Mary (4 miles away) had a freak hailstorm in storm un October 2008

    Even the Met Office admitted it was a one off freak weather event.

    No sign of the climate emergency here!

    • devonblueboy permalink
      August 9, 2022 5:56 pm

      Ditto for Exmouth

  18. August 9, 2022 8:10 pm

    The flooding in the eastern section of Kentucky is a known and acknowledged problem. It’s fundamentally caused by a lot of building in the bottom of valleys, along the river banks, which are are surrounded by substantial mountains. Like Lynmouth and Boscastle in the UK, heavy rainfall on those mountains inevitably channels into those valleys and sweeps through towns and villages. Fixing the problem is of course strongly political.

  19. cookers52 permalink
    August 9, 2022 8:37 pm

    Just a few clicks on Google reveals that this bit of journalism is shabby propaganda.
    Same on bbc tonight about worst evah drought in the Loire Valley, historically not uncommon and records only began in 1958.

  20. John Hultquist permalink
    August 9, 2022 11:23 pm

    Building homes and other structures on the lower parts of narrow twisting streams is both common and wrong. One can use Google Earth or an equivalent package to look at the places where flooding occurred. No surprises. Sad, yes.
    Putting roads and all else on higher ground is costly, and the region is not prosperous — including the attempts by the “greens” and government to destroy the livelihoods there.
    The history is long and complicated, chronicled in the book “Night comes to the Cumberlands” by Harry Caudill.

    Useless trivia: Dwight Yoakam — country music — was born in Pike County, Kentucky.

  21. MACK permalink
    August 9, 2022 11:40 pm

    More BS. This is what the experts are actually saying about floods: “”The climate change effect on these systems is uncertain. ”
    “while a human-induced climate change signal may be present, the naturally high variability makes it hard to spot.”
    As Steve Koonin says, when you look closely at any aspect of climate science, you always find overwhelming uncertainty.

  22. David Wojick permalink
    August 10, 2022 1:16 am

    The harsher reality is that the US Flood Control,Program killed by the greens in 1970 would have prevented or greatly lessened this dreadful damage.

  23. 2hmp permalink
    August 10, 2022 10:15 am

    Facts always speak for themselves. Let’s hope tonight’s programme about the Great Barrier Reef on GBNEWS gives us the facts and not just green fantasies

  24. tomo permalink
    August 10, 2022 11:56 am

    The new UK PM will announce that the fracking ban will be lifted and a new pipeline from Newcastle to Hamburg will be built as a matter of urgency and it will be named “Nord Stream 3”

  25. E J McLaughlin permalink
    August 13, 2022 8:01 pm

    Geoengineering, ain’t it grand…

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