Monday, January 31, 2011

California's Other Catastrothy

People who live in California live with the thought of the next big quake in the back of their mind. Yet Lucy Jones, chief scientist of the United States geological survey's multi-hazards initiative, says California's next big disaster may actually come from the sky. She warns that moisture-laden air currents 200 miles wide and 200 miles long that flow from the tropical pacific waters to the west coast could dump as much as 10 feet of rain in just a few weeks.

This flooding would created a vast "inland sea" about 300 miles long and 20 miles wide, spanning from north Sacramento all the way to Los Angeles. Geological records show this last occurred during the winter of 1861 to 1862. "We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as out big San Andreas earthquake," Jones told Science Daily. In modern times, such a disaster could cause $300 billion in damage.

So take that, California. If the earthquake or Tsunami's or billion dollar budget deficits or crumbling schools or gang violence or illegal immigrants don't get you, you just might be done in by the rain.

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