PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- We think wildfires and flash flooding are freak events. But could our great-grandchildren live in a world where they are common occurrences?

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows rainfall becoming more intense.

"We're not getting more total annual rainfall, but it's just coming faster," said Research Hydraulic Engineer David Goodrich with the USDA.

[WATCH: Could AZ flash floods, wildfires be more common in the generations to come?]

He said they studied data from 100 rain gauges in a watershed in Tombstone, dating back to the 70s.

"We are experiencing climate change, and I am frustrated about making progress and trying to slow things down," said Goodrich.

More intense storms mean buckling infrastructure and more flash flooding. And according to statesatrisk.org, run by the non-profit Climate Central, we can also expect to see muggier summers and more wildfire potential.

But state climatologist Nancy Selover said you can't paint everything with a broad brush.

"We have huge variability in Arizona," Selover said. She said increased wildfire danger is likely.

"The extent that we have warmer temperatures and high winds and drier conditions, yes," Selover said.

But as for whether it'll get muggier, she said that depends on the sea surface temperature and whether it makes its way here.

"We certainly have a lot to be concerned with, particularly as we grow and more people live here," Selover said.

Award-winning journalist Lindsey Reiser is a regular contributor in the evenings on CBS 5 News at 10 p.m.
 
 


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