We're masters of disaster in California. From the new prospect of a “megaquake” that could rip us a new one from San Diego to San Francisco to our apocalyptic wildfires, we do expensive acts of God (not to mention riots) like no other state.
But considering the one thing that the rest of the nation gives us credit for — mellow weather — it was surprising to learn recently that our biggest disaster yet-to-come might just be a “megastorm:”
Yeah. The thing is, we're right on the mighty Pacific Ocean. Not only that but, unlike cities such as San Francisco, New York and Seattle, we're wide open to the sea. Look west. There she is.
According to a new piece in Scientific American (via LA Observed), such a “megastorm” — and we've had them in the past — could dwarf the Golden State's other disasters in terms of human life and the cost of damage.
We've seen some bad El Nino storms (the storms of 1983 brought coastal flooding and massive waves), but we ain't seen nothing yet, according to the magazine.
It says California has a cycle of 200-year storms that brew over the Pacific via “atmospheric rivers.”
The last one was in 1861 and it lasted for 43 days, according to the publication.
If it happened today? Scientific American:
Scientists who recently modeled a similarly relentless storm that lasted only 23 days concluded that this smaller visitation would cause $400 billion in property damage and agricultural losses. Thousands of people could die unless preparations and evacuations worked very well indeed.
Yikes. Hold on to your surfboards.