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.
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
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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide
educational water conference in Sacramento for California local
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
In any lowland, levees define how humans live and how they
disrupt native habitats. This is as true for the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta as it is for coastal Louisiana, Vietnam and the
Netherlands. Flood safety in the Delta is a statewide concern
because the region serves as a hub for delivering water to most
Californians and supports native fish.
Los Angeles River activists, heartened by the momentum behind
revitalization of upstream sections of the waterway, asked
water officials on Thursday to return the downstream portion to
a more natural state by halting removal of vegetation on the
last 11/2 miles of the river.
Russian River water managers and consumers they serve in
Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties got a break Wednesday from
the prospect of watching precious water flow to the ocean from
the rapidly filling Lake Mendocino reservoir near Ukiah.
Edward Hitti, the city’s public works director, said officials
worked with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to
increase the storage capacity at three of La Cañada
Flintridge’s nine catch basins.
Sacramento and San Joaquin valley agencies seeking to reduce
flood risk in local cities and suburbs may be eligible for a
portion of $150 million in state funds for flood management
efforts, the Department of Water Resources announced today
Even though Californians remain gripped in a brutal drought,
high waters will inevitably come again. The past is prelude to
the future, and exactly 50 years ago, residents of towns and
homes along every stream and river in Northern California were
reeling from the most damaging flood we’ve ever seen.
The recent flooding and near closure of Highway 101 during
storms and high tides is a preview of things to come. …
Sea-level rise will happen, no matter what actions we take to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
The biggest tides of the year are arriving this week, prompting
the National Weather Service to issue a flood advisory for the
Bay Area Monday through Wednesday and spurring climate
researchers to take to the coast for a look at what a future
might hold with rising seas.
Cars stranded in high waters, traffic backups and the potential
for damage to hybrid buses are among the fallout from the
low-lying interchange just steps from San Francisco Bay — an
area that may provide a glimpse of what’s to come for much of
the coastline as sea levels rise amid global warming.
More than a decade ago, an SN&R writer interviewed
Sacramento native Joan Didion about her then-new book, Where I
Was From. Part of the conversation involved the development of
Natomas, which Didion remembered fondly. “It was always so
beautiful,” she said, “even when it was underwater.”
A pair of regional flood management studies that are meant to
identify problems, look at ways to address the issues and
identify funding sources to make fixes has also determined some
concerns aren’t easy to rectify.
California needs to significantly increase its annual spending
on flood protection infrastructure to help close an “investment
gap” that places the state’s flood preparedness at risk,
legislators were told during an informational hearing today
When the last big December storm was at its peak, overflowing
storm drains and flash-flooding streets gave San Jose’s bayside
community of Alviso an all-too-real reminder that if not for
the levees and pumps, they’d be underwater.
By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be
threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year due to
dramatically accelerating impacts from sea level rise,
according to a new NOAA study, published today in the American
Geophysical Union’s online peer-reviewed journal Earth’s
Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t the only one to visit Christmas Past.
Every season our memory, however imperfect, whips out reminders
of oft-told tales from a lifetime of Christmases in the wilds
of the North Coast.
The latest in a string of storms noisily marched across
Southern California on Wednesday, hurling lightning bolts,
coating mountains with snow and unleashing downpours that
triggered a freeway-blocking mudslide before mostly moving on.
While the Bay Area’s “storm of the decade” left many residents
shrugging about its strength (San Francisco got less than 3.5
inches of rain), our infrastructure tells a different story.
Local school districts and businesses closed their doors in
droves. … Power outages throughout the Bay Area, and
overwhelmed sewage systems in different places, including San
Francisco, showed how stressed our infrastructure has become.
Two local environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los
Angeles County Superior Court challenging the Board of
Supervisors’ recent approval of the controversial Devil’s Gate
Reservoir Sediment Removal Project.
The deluge meteorologists warned about, deemed to be the
strongest to hit Monterey County in seven years, arrived and it
delivered floods, road closures, power outages and plenty of
rain throughout Thursday.
A dangerous storm system blamed for two deaths in Oregon,
thousands of power outages in Washington and flooded roadways
in the Bay Area that kept many from work and school pushed into
Southern California on Friday, causing mudslides and
From swift and fluid mudslides to massive and lumbering
landslides, gravity and water conspire to pull down the
mountain peaks and green slopes that tectonic forces propped
up. … As scientists have translated the details, California
agencies and local communities have implemented practices to
mitigate slide hazards.
Mother Nature walloped Northern California early Thursday after
three years of drought, bringing a deluge of rain and heavy
winds that brought down trees, cut power and wreaked havoc on
the morning commute.
Heavy rains are predicted for California this week, and after
the extreme drought of the past few years, California welcomes
the moisture. But can there be too much of a good
thing? While drought is a significant natural hazard
Californians must contend with, the natural hazards of severe
weather and flooding are equally significant in the feast or
famine cycle of storms in California.
As rain starts to fall in California after a long drought,
people’s attention turns to landslides. It is common for
hazardous landslides and debris flows to occur in California
after heavy rain when the ground is saturated. … USGS
conducts scientific studies in several areas related to
landslides, climate, and wildfire.
A storm expected to be one of the windiest and rainiest in five
years pushed across parts of Northern California early Thursday
as schools canceled classes and residents stocked up on
supplies. … The storm is expected to later pound parts
of Southern California before a weakening system moves east
through Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico.
The two seasons in Southern California — dry and wet — will
flip-flop for the second week in a row Thursday night as the
region seesaws from sunny to soaked. Warm and dry will quickly
give way to wet and — for those who live near burned out
hillsides — worrisome.
High wind and flash flood advisories were issued for the North
Bay as the most powerful storm in years was expected to roar
through the region early Thursday. … National Weather Service
forecasters, citing concerns about floods, mudslides, toppling
trees, power outages and extremely hazardous road conditions,
advised residents to stay home and be prepared.