According to the South Africa Weather Bureau, 2.5 inches of rain fell last night in Durban, which had already recorded 8.2 inches for November, almost double its average.
Some beach-related activities of the United Nations climate conference have been delayed by a day.
This record-setting killer flooding is part of a long-term trend of climate change. Over a decade ago, climate scientists had already measured a significant increase in extreme rainfall on South Africa’s eastern coast, finding “increases of over 50% in the intensity of 10-year high rainfall events” from 1930 to 1990. A 2006 analysis found that global warming pollution will continue to increase overall precipitation and extreme rainfall events during the South African summer (December through February).
Heavy rains are expected to continue for the rest of the week.
“How high needs the water to get in this conference center before negotiators start deciding?” asked Artur Runge-Metzger, the European Union’s lead negotiator, referring to the deadly floods.