The Stream, May 27, 2020: Heavy Rains Boost Great Lakes Michigan and Huron by 2.4 Trillion Gallons

The Global Rundown

Heavy rainfall in Michigan boosts already-high water levels in the Great Lakes. A tropical disturbance douses South Florida with torrential rains from a storm system expected to continue through Wednesday. A train crash last year in the United Kingdom was reportedly caused by poor flood management. Washington state seeks to regulate water temperatures in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. A number of Chicago renters endure Covid-19 without running water. 

“I can’t wash my hands. I use wipes all day, sanitizer. Nothing cleans like water.” –Sheila Johnson, a resident of Chicago, Illinois, in reference to a lack of water in her rental home–a situation that has been intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Households without water are relying on neighbors, parks, and even fire hydrants to find drinking water. A year ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot halted water shutoffs, and city officials say that any residents who are still without water should call the city’s finance department to enroll in a restoration plan. This isn’t an option for some renters, however, as they pay rent to landlords, and then rely on the landlords to manage utility payments. WBEZ 

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By The Numbers

2.4 trillion gallons Amount that U.S. Great Lakes Michigan and Huron, which connect at the Straits of Mackinac, have risen over the past two weeks, an equivalent of three inches. Heavy rainfall also boosted water levels in Lake Erie by four inches, while Lake Superior stayed at a similar level, and Lake Ontario dropped an inch. MLive

550 Passengers stranded in Corby, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom, following a train crash last June. A new report by a Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that the crash was due to ineffective flood infrastructure, which caused a landslide that littered the train tracks with debris. The RAIB called on local railways and governments to improve their flood management and communication in hopes of avoiding a similar problem in the future. BBC

Science, Studies, and Reports

A recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that federal dams constructed along Washington state’s Columbia and Snake rivers are causing high water temperatures, endangering salmon, steelhead, and other aquatic species. Washington state regulators now want to begin the multi-step process of enforcing stricter temperature controls in the waterways. The Seattle Times

On the Radar

Torrential rains hit Miami-Dade County and other parts of South Florida this weekend due to a tropical disturbance moving over the state. The inundation shut down roadways and caused several crashes and one fatality. Rainfall is expected to continue through Wednesday, and move upwards through northeast Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Miami Herald

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