In short, more serious storms are on the way to California – and climate change is part of the reason. For those who live in California, as I do, I recommend taking this seriously. It’s a long article, but worth skimming through to understand that this warning should not be taken lightly. ~ CA Desertvoice
Editor’s note (11/30/12): The article will appear in the January 2013 issue of Scientific American. We are making it freely available now because of the flooding underway in California.
The intense rainstorms sweeping in from the Pacific Ocean began to pound central California on Christmas Eve in 1861 and continued virtually unabated for 43 days. The deluges quickly transformed rivers running down from the Sierra Nevada mountains along the state’s eastern border into raging torrents that swept away entire communities and mining settlements. The rivers and rains poured into the state’s vast Central Valley, turning it into an inland sea 300 miles long and 20 miles wide. Thousands of people died, and one quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle drowned. Downtown Sacramento was submerged under 10 feet of brown water filled with debris from countless mudslides on the region’s steep slopes. California’s legislature, unable to function, moved to San Francisco until Sacramento dried out—six months later. By then, the state was bankrupt.
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