Devastating floods are almost annual occurrences in the West and in California. With the anticipated sea level rise and other impacts of a changing climate, particularly heavy winter rains, flood management is increasingly critical in California. Compounding the issue are man-made flood hazards such as levee stability and stormwater runoff.
For the first time since the Lake Oroville spillway crisis began, members of the state Legislature peppered key water leaders with questions about what happened, what will happen next and what can be learned from it all.
The head of California’s water agency on Tuesday repeated his assertion that an emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam worked, drawing an incredulous response from a state lawmaker who represents tens of thousands of people ordered to evacuate when it was feared erosion at the spillway could lead to catastrophic flooding.
A pair of crippled spillways at Oroville Dam can be repaired in part by November, but a good deal of the work will probably have to be done after the next rainy season, according to reports by an independent panel of experts.
The damage has been done and the repair contract awarded. … How much will be the responsibility of homeowners, businesses, farmers and other customers of the more than two dozen local and regional agencies that contract with the State Water Project?
Official reports released Monday say the catastrophic damage to Oroville Dam’s main spillway probably stemmed from swift water flows under the concrete chute, which was cracked and of uneven thickness.
Responding to criticism about secrecy around the Oroville Dam repair effort, California officials released two redacted reports Monday from outside engineers consulting on plans to fix the dam’s battered spillways.
Citing the near disaster at Oroville Dam, a group of congressional Democrats is pushing the government’s watchdog agency to investigate federal oversight of dam safety regulations. … Separately, the California state Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Oroville next Tuesday [April 25].
A disaster expert’s review of the Oroville Dam spillway emergency says the Department of Water Resources could have prevented everything with better design, better construction and better maintenance. Robert Bea prepared the report published Monday.
A coalition of environmental groups that had warned Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was fatally flawed long before it nearly washed away this winter is demanding that federal regulators open up dam repair plans for public vetting.
Late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, Sheriff Kory Honea was at the emergency operations center for the tallest dam in America when he overheard someone say something that stopped him in his tracks: “This is not good.”
As state officials clamp down on records at Oroville Dam, one of the country’s foremost experts on catastrophic engineering failures has used state inspection reports, photographs and historical design specifications to piece together an autopsy detailing why the spillway at the country’s tallest dam failed so spectacularly this winter.
California water officials Monday awarded a $275 million contract to repair the troubled Oroville Dam to a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest construction companies that is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
Design flaws, construction shortcomings and maintenance errors caused the Oroville Dam spillway to break apart in February, according to an independent analysis by Robert Bea for the Center for Catastrophic Risk Analysis at UC Berkeley.
State officials have reopened the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam as another set of rainstorms began moving across Northern California. … Water will continue pouring down the spillway for up to two weeks, depending on how much more rain falls.
California’s top water official said Thursday he’s considering releasing redacted copies of safety and progress reports at the troubled Oroville Dam after his office had tried to keep them secret because of terrorism concerns.
With stormy weather approaching, state water managers announced Thursday they will resume releasing water down a damaged spillway at the nation’s tallest dam. The badly eroded main spillway at California’s Oroville Dam hasn’t been used since March 27.
It’s not just the residents of Oroville, Gridley and Yuba City who are frustrated with the Department of Water Resources’ lack of transparency concerning the Oroville Dam spillways. Two California legislators who represent those living downstream from the dam are also upset that they aren’t getting answers. … The state Senate’s Natural Resources Committee has a hearing scheduled at 9 a.m. April 25 that will go over what happened with the Oroville Dam spillway.
A state-commissioned report on climate change released Wednesday raises the stakes for fighting global warming, offering a clearer and, in some cases, more catastrophic picture of how much sea levels will rise in California.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is using federal security regulations written to thwart terrorism to deny public access to records that experts say could guide repairs to the Oroville Dam and provide insight into what led to the near catastrophic failure of its emergency spillway.
The Manteca Unified School District must pay to fund local levee improvements, just like any other property owner in the area, an appeals court has found. One attorney says the decision is good news for the small levee districts across the Delta charged with protecting farms and cities from floods.
California’s Dept. of Water Resources has announced a fast-track plan to replace the shattered spillways at Oroville Dam — at least partially — by November 1, when the rainy season is expected to resume. Meanwhile, engineers at Oroville Dam are drilling cores and conducting geological studies, hoping to better understand February’s near-catastrophic spillway failures.
California officials on Thursday announced an ambitious plan to increase the size of Lake Oroville’s damaged main spillway, allowing it to release nearly twice as much water, as they seek to rebuild the 3,000-foot-long concrete chute that gave way this year.
State officials sketched a two-year recovery plan Thursday for the battered Oroville Dam spillway, revealing a blueprint that’s far from complete, still in need of a price tag and certain to leave the structure partially damaged as the next rainy season approaches.
The Department of Water Resources can operate the Oroville Dam project in an emergency capacity until Aug. 24. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved an emergency permit for the state water agency Feb. 24, and it is good for six months.
Since the Oroville Dam spillway incident highlighted flaws in the current system, Yuba-Sutter officials are in the process of revising evacuation plans. Both Yuba and Sutter counties have been gathering information from the public regarding the February evacuation and plan on using the situation as a learning tool.
Citing potential security risks, state and federal officials are blocking the public’s ability to review documents that could shed light on repair plans and safety issues at crippled Oroville Dam. … The secrecy on the part of state dam operators prompted state Sen. Jim Nielsen to call for an immediate oversight hearing.
It’s a race against time this spring as water roars out of Central California’s dams and rumbles its way to the lowest-lying areas of the western San Joaquin Valley, communities where land is collapsing and water channels are growing more unstable. State engineers are generating new maps to understand where water is stagnating in spots it once flowed freely, and to learn which communities are in the most danger of flooding.
President Donald Trump announced Sunday more than a half-billion dollars would be coming to California to help cover the damage from the winter storms, including $274 million for repairs to the Oroville Dam spillway. The fulfillment of the fourth presidential declaration for damage from the winter storms totals an estimated $540 million.
The state Department of Water Resources gave the overseeing federal agency of the Oroville Dam what it asked for last week — a schedule for the independent review team investigating the cause of the spillway failures, but it listed no deadline for a final report from the team.
After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure. That has some calling for a new approach to flood control – one that mimics nature instead of trying to contain it.
As snow continued to fall on the eastern Sierra Nevada on Monday, platoons of earth movers, cranes and utility trucks fanned out across the Owens Valley, scrambling to empty reservoirs and clean out a lattice-work of ditches and pipelines in a frantic effort to protect the key source of Los Angeles’ water.
The operators of Oroville Dam acknowledged Monday they might not be able to permanently repair the dam’s battered main spillway in time for the next rainy season, but said they’re confident the fractured structure will be usable.
California’s top water manager said Monday that the problem-plagued Oroville Reservoir will have a new spillway in place to prevent potentially dangerous outflows of water in time for the next rainy season.
More than a month after Coyote Creek spilled its banks and flooded surrounding neighborhoods, city leaders Thursday said some 500 families remain unable to return home and pleaded with property owners to help house them.
The main spillway at Oroville Dam is riddled with design flaws and so badly damaged that an independent panel of experts hired by the state has concluded it’s probably impossible to repair the structure completely before the next rainy season begins in November.
Safety experts say there is no time for delay in a state plan to restore the 770-foot Oroville Dam, and they warn California would face a “very significant risk” if a damaged spillway is not in working order by fall, the start of the next rainy season.
While a nearly record-breaking rainy season has battered California’s dams and stretched the limits of local levees, the storms that began to hit Sacramento on Tuesday aren’t expected to put much additional strain on the state’s flood-control system.
[Los Angeles] Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed a state of emergency Monday, citing concerns that melting snowpack in the eastern Sierra Nevada could flood homes and highways in the Owens Valley and damage the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
The state Department of Water Resources Friday said the cost associated with the ongoing crisis at Oroville Dam totaled about $100 million through the end of February. … Meanwhile, dam operators Friday began releasing water down the damaged main spillway for the first time since flows were halted there Feb. 27.
Naturally-occurring asbestos has been found in the rock formations and in the air near the damaged Oroville Dam main spillway, according to a press release. Although California Department of Water Resources said risk to workers and the surrounding community is minimal, dust-control operations are being increased.
President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a major disaster for California because of damage caused by heavy rains that hit the state from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23, making available federal assistance to state and local agencies as well as some nonprofit groups.
The Department of Water Resources is planning to resume flows this week through Oroville Dam’s damaged main spillway, and warns that Feather River flows will increase to 40,000-50,000 cubic feet per second.
The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee passed a proposed $3.5 billion water and parks bond measure Tuesday, with members calling for an assurance that if approved by California voters in 2018, the funds would be equitably distributed throughout the state. The bond, Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, includes $500 million for flood protection investments that were just added after the recent floods to address the state’s urgent needs.
California faces an estimated $50 billion price tag for roads, dams and other infrastructure threatened by floods such as the one that severely damaged Oroville Dam last month, the state’s natural resources secretary said Wednesday.
Until a few weeks ago, the McCormack-Williamson Tract in the California Delta was an island of low-lying farmland, more than two square miles protected from the surrounding rivers and sloughs by earthen levees.
Geologists attempted for the first time Tuesday to figure out what to do about the vast, yawning canyon dug out of the earth after a crater opened up in the Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway and diverted water at high speed into the adjacent hillside.
For three weeks, Oroville Dam’s fractured main spillway and the surrounding hillsides have taken a nearly nonstop pounding. The stunning waterfall crashing down what’s left of the 3,000-foot concrete span has split the spillway in two and carved massive canyons on either side.
Billions of dollars in flood projects have eased fears of levee breaks near California’s capital and some other cities, but state and federal workers are joining farmers with tractors in round-the-clock battles this week to stave off any chain-reaction failure of rural levees protecting farms and farm towns.
As hundreds of frustrated residents returned home Thursday to begin cleaning up the damage from the worst South Bay flooding in decades, water district officials said they tried to warn city officials in the hours before Coyote Creek spilled into neighborhoods that potentially destructive flows would arrive within three to four hours.
At the end of the week Shasta County residents may see a brief pause in an otherwise active rainy season, but flooding will continue to pose a threat for many low-lying areas along the Sacramento River and near other tributaries.
A day after rescuers boated hundreds of people to safety during San Jose’s worst flooding in decades, city officials Wednesday let many of the 14,000 evacuated residents return home and blamed the sudden overflow of Coyote Creek on bad information about its capacity.
As heavy winter storms continue to hammer California, the Legislature is launching a review of dam and levee safety and bracing for major investments necessary to shore up flood control throughout the state.
Nine days ago, with the Oroville Dam under stress and battered by more harsh weather, Gov. Jerry Brown said he had no immediate plans to visit the site, suggesting “I don’t think they need politicians fluttering around.”
The Department of Water Resources plans to remove at least some of the debris at the bottom of the Oroville Dam spillway and study the structure, but just aren’t sure when they’ll have a chance to do that.
As the latest major storm to saturate California got in its final licks Tuesday, the state deployed all the weapons in its flood-control arsenal — including farm tractors, pontoon boats and controlled releases from mountain reservoirs.
After the state Department of Water Resources reached its goal early Monday morning of lowering the water level at Lake Oroville by 50 feet, officials said heavy rains would likely cause lake levels to rise several feet.
Creeks and rivers topped their banks, hundreds of homes were evacuated and several thousand people found themselves trapped in a rural hamlet as Northern California emerged Tuesday from yet another winter storm.
The spillway gates opened at Don Pedro Reservoir at 3 p.m. Monday, and over the next four or more days could nearly triple the flow of the Tuolumne River as it comes through Stanislaus County and Modesto.
The badly damaged main concrete spillway at Oroville Dam was pounded by massive volumes of stormwater this month, but its failures occurred well short of the maximum flow that engineers designed the system to handle.
The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure’s two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges.
Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears.
When operators of Oroville Dam suddenly ordered evacuations on Sunday, it focused a big spotlight on a crucial piece of California’s flood-control infrastructure – spillways. … Some of these dams are getting upgrades, albeit slowly.
Work crews repairing Oroville Dam’s damaged emergency spillway are dumping 1,200 tons of rock each hour and using shotcrete to stabilize the hillside slope, an official with the Department of Water Resources told the California Water Commission today.
The pace of work is “round the clock,” said Kasey Schimke, assistant director of DWR’s legislative affairs office.
At churches, fairgrounds and other makeshift shelters, thousands of Californians packed what belongings they had into garbage bags and suitcases to return home Tuesday, two days after they were told to flee the threat of massive flooding from a dam’s damaged spillway.
With both spillways badly damaged and a new storm approaching, America’s tallest dam on Tuesday became the site of a desperate operation to fortify the massive structures before they face another major test. … In a sign of the progress made Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing all evacuated residents to return home.
President Trump issued major disaster declarations to enable federal funding for California on two fronts — to aid with the Oroville Dam spillway damage and mass evacuations and to help the state deal with the widespread effects of January’s storms.
There’s another storm bearing down on troubled Oroville Dam, set to begin late Wednesday. But state officials say they believe the precipitation will be mild enough – and the reservoir empty enough – to handle this latest challenge.
As the nation’s 84,000 dams continue to age, a growing number of people downstream of these structures are at risk, according to experts and data of the nation’s dams. … California has 1,585 dams, according to the National Inventory of Dams database. Fifty-two percent of those dams are considered a high hazard, the fourth-most of any state.
A huge Northern California reservoir, held in place by a massive dam, has always been central to the life of the towns around it. Now the lake that has brought them holiday fireworks and salmon festivals could bring disaster.
One day after the deterioration of an Oroville Dam spillway forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people in the Sacramento Valley, a reservoir at the southern end of Santa Clara Valley flirted with an ominous milestone.
Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Trump administration for a federal disaster declaration for the emergency at Oroville Dam on Monday evening, citing the impending arrival of more storms and the potential need to resort again to the dam’s emergency spillway, which has been severely eroded.
As California waited Monday night to see if President Donald Trump would grant Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for emergency funding for 10,000 evacuees who lived in the shadow of the Oroville Dam, FEMA began preparing for the worse.
California’s recovery from drought has been so remarkably quick that reservoirs on the verge of record lows just a year ago are now too full to handle more rain, prompting dam operators across the state to unleash surpluses of water not seen in years.
Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.
Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life.
The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.
Most of the time, motorists driving on Interstate 80 between Davis and here [Sacramento] look out on vast tracts of farms and wetlands. But over the last two weeks, something remarkable has happened in what is known as the Yolo Bypass.
After another round of heavy rains soaked parts of California, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Monday for several counties dealing with an estimated tens of million dollars in damage from flooding, erosion, and mud flows.
In the years before California’s drought, it wasn’t unusual for Sacramentans to spend winters worrying about floods. After more than five years with little rain, the past two weeks delivered a bracing reminder that the region remains vulnerable to rising waters and overtopped levees.
Rescue workers used boats and firetrucks to evacuate dozens of Northern California residents from their flooded homes Wednesday as a drought-busting series of storms began to move out of the region after days of heavy rain and snow that toppled trees and created havoc as far north as Portland, Oregon.
The Russian River surged to its highest level in a decade Wednesday and deepened flooding woes, while across the North Coast, crews in cities as well as rural areas scrambled to re-open roads, clear toppled trees, restore power and bring normalcy back to a region battered by four days of punishing winter storms.
A lull in a series of powerful winter storms gave Northern California a chance Monday to clean up from widespread flooding while also assessing how all that moisture is altering the state’s once-grim drought picture.
ARkStorm stands for an atmospheric river (“AR”) that carries precipitation levels expected to occur once every 1,000 years (“k”). The concept was presented in a 2011 report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intended to elevate the visibility of the very real threats to human life, property and ecosystems posed by extreme storms on the West Coast.
Outgoing Rep. Sam Farr addressed a 23-member panel bringing together local representatives from four counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, municipal flood control staff members and the two candidates running to replace him on Nov. 8, Casey Lucius and Jimmy Panetta.
As the rainy season begins in California, so too does the potential for dangerous flash flooding. … California agencies are using a new computer monitoring tool to understand ground conditions in real-time, including areas burned by wildfire.
Back-to-back bouts of rain that began Monday will make for an unusually wet week leading up to Halloween, said forecasters who are beginning to grow concerned about potential flooding this winter in fire-scorched areas.
A hydrograph illustrates a type of activity of water during a specific time frame. Salinity and acidity are sometimes measured, but the most common types are stage and discharge hydrographs. These graphs show how surface water flow responds to fluxes in precipitation.
Prado Dam – built in 1941 in response to the Santa Ana River’s flood-prone past – separates the river into its upper and lower watersheds. After the devastation of the deadly Los Angeles Flood of 1938 that impacted much of Southern California, it became evident that flood protection was woefully inadequate, prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct Prado Dam.
Contrary to popular belief, “100-Year Flood” does not refer to a flood that happens every century. Rather, the term describes the statistical chance of a flood of a certain magnitude (or greater) taking place once in 100 years. It is also accurate to say a so-called “100-Year Flood” has a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year, and those living in a 100-year floodplain have, each year, a 1 percent chance of being flooded.
Staffers with the county’s public works department and Community Development Agency were recently recognized for their creative approach to engaging residents in a discussion on sea-level rise, earning a public outreach award from the state chapter of the American Planning Association for their creation — the board game the “Game of Floods.”
A new $37.2 million levee in the town of St. Helena, on the floodplain of the Napa River, has a colorful history and has been stirring local acrimony since its inception. … There are clearly positive elements of the St. Helena levee project, but also numerous missteps that have mired the project in dissent and even, opponents argue, threaten to bankrupt the town. With important planning and zoning decisions now pending, the St. Helena levee is a case study for other communities to examine before they consider all of the options for flood-risk management.
In an effort to help maintain the balance between freshwater habitat and flood protection, the Monterey County Resource Management Agency brought in special crews to work at the Carmel Lagoon area Monday.
Local architect Cove Britton is seeking to correct what he contends are inaccuracies in preliminary flood insurance rate maps that could negatively affect his clients and their neighbors in tony Pleasure Point. … Three years ago, homeowners from Oregon to Maine complained about map inaccuracies, according to Pro Publica, an investigative journalism nonprofit that found money for FEMA’s map project was cut by Congress.
In record numbers, homeowners throughout the state rushed out to buy flood insurance in anticipation of the widely hyped – and feared – monster El Niño. …. And some are asking: Did all these insurance buyers make a monster mistake?
Years of rumbling dump trucks and backhoes placing 2.75 million tons of rock “armor” along nearly a dozen miles of riverbank is an unpleasant thought for many who bike, jog, fish, bird-watch, golf, boat and swim along the lower American River Parkway.
After years of drought, Northern California has so much water that the state’s two largest reservoirs are releasing water to maintain flood-control safety. … Shasta and Oroville are the twin anchors of California’s giant water-delivery networks.
With Lake Oroville rising more than 82 feet this month, the water level is now cutting into the buffer needed for flood control. … Other north state reservoirs have increased their outflows as they encroach on flood control limits.
As Californians hope for rain and snow to end the state’s extreme drought, a decades-old rule prohibits reservoirs from filling up in the winter, so some water ends up being released. The rule may sound odd given how chronically dry California is, but it’s actually to prevent a bigger disaster: flooding.
Water from the rain-swollen Sacramento River began flowing over the Fremont Weir and into the Yolo Bypass on Saturday morning, according to monitors at the California Nevada River Forecast Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The first of a pair of storms pounded Northern California on Thursday, bringing heavy bands of rain to the North Bay, causing minor flooding and mudslides, and raising the specter that the flood-prone Russian River might spill its banks.
A long arm across Rainbow Harbor prevented piles of detritus from landing on local shores and floating into the sea earlier this month, when heavy rains soaked the region and sent tons of trash and debris downstream from cities along the Los Angeles River and into Long Beach.
He’s [Nick Blom] a volunteer in an experiment run by UC Davis that could offer a partial solution to California’s perennial water shortages, and in the process, challenge some long-standing tenets of flood control and farming in the Central Valley.
Last week, as long-awaited rains arrived in California, FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] announced a recent 12% increase in the number of flood insurance policies written statewide — a rise the agency said was the “first of its kind in recent history.”
Officials of the city, county and Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that there will be $3.6 million in emergency federal funding for flood prevention measures along the Los Angeles River following the first El Niño-related storms this week.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin work next week to temporarily raise the banks along nearly three miles of the Los Angeles River to improve flood protection during El Niño storms, officials announced Friday, just days after the watercourse roared to life during heavy rains.
In the arid agricultural expanse of the southern San Joaquin Valley, there was once water for miles in every direction. Tulare Lake – once the largest lake west of the Mississippi River – covered 600 square miles of land near Bakersfield and provided life for waterfowl, fish and native Californians. … Now, Steve Haze wants to bring water back to the parched basin.
Federal disaster officials warned Tuesday that El Niño-fueled storms in California could inflict millions of dollars in damage this winter — from mud-soaked homes to broken levees to downed electrical lines — and said they’re taking steps to minimize the toll.
The funds, from the Department of Water Resources’ Flood Systems Repair Program, will allow the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency to improve a section of levee near Laurel Avenue south of Star Bend, further expanding a multi-year project to raise the flood protection in urban and rural areas to 200- and 100-year levels, respectively.
As California braces for torrential downpours this winter from El Niño, authorities have stockpiled extra sandbags across the state while putting hundreds of personnel through flood-control training, officials told state lawmakers on Wednesday.
A Wednesday state Senate hearing dove into a topic on the mind of many Californians, examining how an anticipated El Niño surge of wetness could affect residents and force a pivot from drought preparedness to flood response.
With the strongest El Niño conditions in nearly 20 years already underway in the Pacific Ocean and chances increasing for heavy storms this winter, federal emergency officials on Friday urged Californians to buy flood insurance — even those who don’t live near creeks or rivers.
It was the latest in a series of October storms that could provide a preview of what’s in store in the coming months as an El Niño system moves in and threatens to bring unstable weather to the Southwest…. California is bracing for a rainy winter, potentially easing the drought while creating new problems such as flooding and mudslides.
Northern Los Angeles County was pummeled Thursday by a series of torrential downpours that caused mudslides and flash floods that inundated roads, trapped drivers and forced the closure of nearly 40 miles of Interstate 5, cutting off California’s main north-south artery.
A soaking El Niño weather system is in the forecast, promising to pummel California with torrents of rain by the end of the year. That would seem like Champagne-popping news as this state suffers through its worst drought in a millennium.
Among all the apocalyptic disasters that Californians routinely prepare for — earthquake, drought, wildfire, carmageddon — the most welcome is rain, even though giant El Niño events like the one currently massing in the Pacific can bring their own set of calamities: flooding, mudslides, carmageddon with hydroplaning.
Californians across the state have responded en masse to the call for lifestyle changes, curtailing water use, particularly when it comes to watering their lawns. And some have responded in a manner more concerning to government officials: They canceled their flood insurance.
While drought-plagued California is eager for rain, the forecast of a potentially Godzilla-like El Niño event has communities clearing out debris basins, urging residents to stock up on emergency supplies and even talking about how a deluge could affect the 50th Super Bowl.
With forecasters saying that this winter’s El Niño could be among the most powerful on record, officials preparing for the expected downpours are focusing their attention on vulnerabilities in Southern California’s flood-control system.
In the historic heart of Napa Valley, a moderate climate and the alluvial soils deposited by the Napa River create perfect conditions for world-class cabernets. An acre of vines here sells for around $300,000, or 25 times the state average for irrigated cropland. Yet a group of landowners have ripped out 20 acres of these prized vineyards to make room for river restoration, with levee setbacks, terraced banks and native plants.
With El Niño conditions increasing the likelihood of extreme weather in California the rest of the year, a team of scientists from UC Santa Cruz and the Nature Conservancy has published a study that provides a method for the state to reduce the risk of flooding, save coastal buildings and structures, and preserve habitat.
Flash flooding washed out a stretch of I-10 near Desert Center in southeastern California. And with a potential El Niño coming later this year, there could be a lot more flash floods up and down the state.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for San Diego County due to damage caused by the weekend rainstorms … The emergency declaration was also issued for Los Angeles, Riverside, Imperial, Kern and San Bernardino counties.
If a potentially historic El Niño brings powerful floods to Southern California this winter, Sunday’s rain-induced bridge collapse could be a preview of highway hazards to come. Across California, state officials list about 450 bridges as potentially unstable during intense floods.
One of the city’s more tranquil Delta settings would be the scene of two years of intense construction work, and would have a decidedly different look for decades into the future if a plan to build a floodgate near the mouth of Smith Canal moves forward.
Country Club residents are one step closer to shedding a high-risk flood zone designation, after state officials agreed this week to contribute $22 million toward the construction of a gate near the mouth of Smith Canal.
Marshes that rest along bayside Marin could protect communities from storms, flooding, erosion and sea-level rise, according to a new NOAA study. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study looked at different reports addressing how natural processes protect shorelines — which it turns out they do quite well.
Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature announced a $1.1 billion drought relief plan for California. But the $660 million allocated for flood management had many observers scratching their heads.
A massive earthquake in the central Aleutian Islands in Alaska could send waves as high as 28 feet crashing into Rodeo Cove near Sausalito, according to data presented Tuesday at Marin’s first-ever tsunami preparedness symposium.