Unfortunately, first responders in California need to add another disaster threat to their long list of potential disasters to prepare for... a "superstorm" that could cause massive flooding and destruction 4 to 5 times what might be expected in a major earthquake.
More than 100 scientistist and experts from the U.S. Geological Survey now indicate that California faces the risk of a massive "superstorm" that could flood a quarter of the state's homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage.
These scientists warned emergency management officials that California's geological history shows such "superstorms" have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters possible in the state.
There has not been such a disasterous storm in California for about 150 years, but the risk of a repeat of past "superstorms" is now growing due to the rising temperatures in the atmosphere, which have made weather patterns more volatile.
Geological Survey director Marcia K. McNutt indicated that a 300-mile stretch of the Central Valley experienced massive flooding from 1861-62. Geological evcidence indicates that even larger storms happened in the years 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605.
A scientific model showed that such a storm could last for more than 40 days and dump up to 10 feet of water on the state of California. In this scenario, an "atmospheric river" would move water "at the same rate as 50 Mississippis discharging water into the Gulf of Mexico,". The storms would likely cause massive landslides, and winds could reach 125 miles per hour.
It is easy to dismiss such predictions as something for future generations of emergency responders to have to worry about, but as Geological Survey scientist Lucy Jones has indicated, "We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes". So given that the last occurance was 150 years ago, this is very possibly an issue for current first responders in California and not just their great-grandchildren.
Federal and state emergency management officials are taking the threat seriously and met last week to discuss preparations for a potential California superstorm. If you work in California, have you begun to discuss preparations for such a superstorm?
Whether you are a professional, lay, or community emergency responder in California, or elsewhere, please consider your own level of preparedness to deal with a massive disaster of any kind. Make sure that your plans are adequate and that you have the right equipment and training to Respond with Confidence to such a cataclysmic disaster.
Respond With Confidence!