CA Faces Threat of Future Megaflood

Published on August 22nd, 2022

Californians face wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, and a variety of other natural disasters.

Now we can add a new one to the list; “megafloods.”

An extensive report in USA Today breaks down a new study that indicates California faces the threat of a megaflood. This means a flood so large in scope and catastrophic in effect that it could displace millions of people and destroy entire metro areas.

It says that an extreme monthlong storm could bring feet of rain – in some places, more than 100 inches – to hundreds of miles of California. Similarly unrelenting storms have happened in the past, before the region became home to tens of millions of people.”

According to the study, the threat of a megaflood is twice as likely to happen due to climate change. A warmer environment will only feed the flood.

When floods hit in a warmer planet, “the storm sequence is bigger in almost every respect,” said Daniel Swain, UCLA climate scientist and co-author of the study, in a news release. “There’s more rain overall, more intense rainfall on an hourly basis and stronger wind.””

The report goes on to discuss California’s Great Flood of 1862, which if it happened today would cost $1 trillion dollars in damages. Scientists warned that a new megaflood could displace 5-10 million people and destroy parts of major metro areas.

A report on California megafloods in the Washington Post lays out the catastrophic scenario.

The paper warns of “extraordinary impacts” and reports that such an episode could transform “the interior Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into a temporary but vast inland sea nearly 300 miles in length and [inundate] much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange Counties.””

WaPo also cited Alan Rhoades, a scientist who is an expert on atmospheric rivers. This weather phenomenon is what  could cause the megaflood. Rhoades mentioned how overdevelopment has played its part in contributing to this apocalyptic scenario.

California has vastly expanded its rural, urban, and agricultural sprawl, which could lead to more potential for loss of life and property.”

The overdevelopment of California is going to have devastating consequences in the not so distant future. It looks like it’s no longer a matter of if, but when something like this will occur in our beautiful state.

In the meantime we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed and hope we avoid this scenario, because the overpopulation and overdevelopment of California isn’t ending anytime soon.

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