A group of more than 100 scientists and experts say in a new report that California faces the risk of a massive "superstorm" that could flood a quarter of the state's homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. Researchers point out that the potential scale of destruction in this storm scenario is four or five times the amount of damage that could be wrought by a major earthquake.
It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic action movie, but scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey warned federal and state emergency officials that California's geological history shows such "superstorms" have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters to worry about in the Golden State.
The threat of a cataclysmic California storm has been dormant for the past 150 years. Geological Survey director Marcia K. McNutt told the New York Times that a 300-mile stretch of the Central Valley was inundated from 1861-62. The floods were so bad that the state capital had to be moved to San Francisco, and Governor Leland Stanford had to take a rowboat to his own inauguration, the report notes. Even larger storms happened in past centuries, over the dates 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605, according to geological evidence.
The risk is gathering momentum now, scientists say, due to rising temperatures in the atmosphere, which has generally made weather patterns more volatile.
The scientists built a model that showed a storm could last for more than 40 days and dump 10 feet of water on the state. The storm would be goaded on by an "atmospheric river" that would move water "at the same rate as 50 Mississippis discharging water into the Gulf of Mexico," according to the AP. Winds could reach 125 miles per hour, and landslides could compound the damage, the report notes.
Such a superstorm is hypothetical but not improbable, climate researchers warn. "We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes," Geological Survey scientist Lucy Jones said in a press release
There is more that I didn't copy over. Too bad many people won't read the words hypothetical, could happen etc.
Do you think these kinds of articles just encourage the whole world is ending paranoia?
Answer by Anonymous at 4:04 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by -AJ at 4:07 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by gemgem at 4:09 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by wellnessgirl at 4:10 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by brandyj at 4:17 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Its happened before so its possibe, but it isnt usually as bad as they say it will be.
and if it happened all those other times, how do they attribute it to rising temps.?
Answer by sweet-a-kins at 4:24 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by musicmom08 at 4:28 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by zebbiebug at 4:39 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
Answer by SpiritedWitch at 4:52 PM on Jan. 17, 2011
No one is guaranteed a certain about of time. You deal with what you're dealt. Worrying about that which you can not control is a waste of the good time that you have been granted.
My chances of being injured/killed in a car accident are measurable, yet I still drive. Many people slip and fall in their shower or bathtub, and I still bathe.
Answer by Sisteract at 5:00 PM on Jan. 17, 2011