California might be utterly destroyed by a weeks-long superstorm one of these days, say scientists. Get your luxury canoes ready.
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.
“150 years ago, over a few weeks in the winter of 1861-62, enough rain fell to inundate a stretch of the Central Valley 300 miles long and 20 miles wide, from north of Sacramento south to Bakersfield, near the eastern desert.
The storms lasted 45 days, creating lakes in parts of the Mojave Desert and, according to asurvey account, “turning 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.”
According to these scientists, the damage from a superstorm could be four-to-five times more devastating than an earthquake and impact one quarter of all houses in California.