Widespread California Flooding Predicted


Widespread California Flooding Predicted

Californians have to deal with a lot of natural disasters as part of living on the West Coast - fires, earthquakes, tourists... and now widespread flooding may be added to that list according to a new study from University of California researchers. 

According to the study, California's already highly volatile climate will become even more wild as human-caused climate change continues to mess with atmospheric patterns over the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

Researchers say the long-term average of annual precipitation in California won't change all that much, but, droughts will become drier, and wet winters will become wetter. 

"Yet despite that, we see a big increase in extremes," said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, lead author of a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. "We expect to see more really wet years and also more really dry years.''

Doughts could get drier and wet winters could get wetter

The state already has difficulty managing its water infrastructure. During last year's series of storms, the Oroville dam's spillway failed, leading to the evacuation of more than 180,000 people living near the dam.  "We really need to be thinking seriously about what we're going to do about these risks," Swain said, according to The Times. It's a little bit hard to exaggerate how disastrous a repeat of the 1862 flood would be in California," he added. 

Floodwaters could inundate the Los Angeles basin and other major urban areas, a scenario that Swain said is "something that will very plausibly happen in the next 40 years." 

Photo: Getty Images


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