California

Forget earthquakes, California faces massive super storm that could destroy 25 percent of homes

Thursday, January 20, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: California, super storm, health news

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(NaturalNews) Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seem more concerned about a giant California "super storm" than they are "the big one", which refers to the massive earthquake that many experts believe will someday hit the Golden State and cause massive destruction. Super storms, they say, have happened before, and if one were to occur based on modeled predictions, it has the potential to be far worse than even the worst earthquake.

At the recent ARkStorm Summit in Sacramento, researchers unveiled a warning about the potential for a serious storm to destroy up to $400 billion worth of California property. Such a storm could bring ten feet of rain over the course of 40 days, they stated at the conference, which would have catastrophic consequences even worse than those posed by a giant quake.

"Floods are as much a part of our lives in California as earthquakes are," explained Lucy Jones, chief scientists at the USGS's multi-hazards initiative. "We are probably not going to be able to handle the biggest ones."

The purpose of the gathering, which was co-planned by the USGS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), was to develop new disaster management strategies to deal with such scenarios. And scientists wanted to be sure that storms were given at least the same level of attention as earthquakes are.

According to historical records, a flood that occurred in California's Central Valley between 1861-62 flooded an area 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. It rained for 45 days straight, flooding parts of the Mojave Desert and reportedly "turn[ed] the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea, forcing the state capital to be moved from Sacramento to San Francisco for a time, and requiring Gov. Leland Stanford to take a rowboat to his inauguration."

Scientists warned that, based on the same historical records, such an event happens every 100 to 200 years. So California is due at any time for a storm of this magnitude.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article_pf.asp?...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/201...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/science/ea...

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