Tuesday June 4, 2024

Los Angeles Times

For well over a century, the Great Flood of 1862 has remained among California’s worst natural disasters — a megastorm that’s been used as a benchmark for state emergency planners and officials to better prepare for the future.

A dreaded repeat of the flood — which killed at least 4,000 people and turned the Central Valley into a 300-mile-long sea — would probably eclipse the devastation of a major California earthquake and cause up to $1 trillion in damage, some experts say.

Yet even as California scrambles to cope with the effects of climate whiplash and increasingly extreme weather, new research suggests the potential magnitude of such events could be far greater than that of the 1862 deluge.

After analyzing layers of sediment at Carrizo Plain National Monument, researchers at Cal State Fullerton say they have identified two massive, unrecorded Southern California flood events within the last 600 years.

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