Saturday, March 31, 2012

California Superstorm possible

Meteoroligist Evelyn Taft KCAL, LA

Stand back non believers, I believe we are gonna' get some rain!
According to Evelyn Taft of KCAL in L.A. quoting Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey. California may be in some deep trouble of the wet kind. A super storm is possible. One so big it makes the flood of 1964 seem like a drizzly day. I have lived through the 1955 flood and the 1964 flood, and I have seen conditions that made me think that a bigger flood was possible. They say that the '55 flood was a flood that only happenes every hundred years, and the '64 flood was a "thousand year flood". So, I just realaxed and figured that I've seen the worst of the worse, and it was over. But nope, a storm so big and bad is on it's way that makes all other storms fade in comparison.

A bigger storm than the '64 flood storm is hard to fathom. Nobody that didn't see the '64 flood with their very own eyes still can't imagine how hard it rained. So, try to wrap your brains around the following storm description.

Dr.Lucy Jones, USGS

"Imagine a rainstorm so large that it would be like hurricane Katrina hitting every day for a month.

Countless homes would be destroyed as if a million tornadoes roared through the city, and the cost of cleaning up would plunge the entire world into an economic depression for decades.
"It sounds like a scary script from a disaster movie right? But scientists say this is no fantasy. It will happen, and will destroy much of California.
They're predicting a superstorm that would turn a flood control channel into a river the size of the Mississippi, and would literally wash away many buildings.
Metrorologist Evelyn Taft from KCAL in Los Angeles says the storm will dump more than ten feet of water.
"We could possibly see a third of the state under water in a storm like this," says Taft.
They're calling it the "ark storm" like the biblical storm that forced Noah and his animals into the ark.
It would leave more people homeless than the Haiti earthquake."

"Dr. Lucy Jones from the U.S. Geological Survey created a computer model of the storm. She says the ark storm would be the most expensive natural disaster in history, saying, "We estimate it could cost as much as a trillion dollars." When will it happen? No one can predict with certainty, but one thing is for sure—when it comes, it will leave behind devastation and destruction like we've never seen before."

Some of you may not know, but the winter of 1861-62 had what is reputed to be a worse storm than the 1964 flood. The following is a description of the flood on the north coast. Garberville didn't give any description of the Eel River, so we can only wonder what happened here.

Great Flood of 1862
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Great Flood of 1862 or Noachian Deluge was the largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada and California, occurring from December 1861 to January 1862. It was preceded by weeks of continuous rains (or snows in the high elevations) that began in Oregon in November 1861 and continued into January 1862. This was followed by record quantitative precipitation in January 9-12th, which contributed to a flood which extended from the Columbia River southward in western Oregon and through California to San Diego, and extended as far inland as Idaho in Washington Territory, Nevada and Utah in Utah Territory and Arizona in western New Mexico Territory.

"It was climaxed by a warmer, more intense storm with much more rain that was made more serious by the earlier large accumulation of snow, now melted by the rain in the lower elevations of the mountains. Throughout the affected area, all the streams and rivers rose to great heights, flooded the valleys, inundated or swept away towns, mills, dams, flumes, houses, fences, and domestic animals, and ruined fields. Early estimates of property damage was at $10,000,000. However, later it was estimated that approximately one-quarter of the taxable real estate in the state of California was destroyed in the flood. Dependent on property taxes, the State of California went bankrupt. The governor, state legislature, and state employees were not paid for a year and a half."

Having seen the '64 flood, I really thought that I had seen it all. Now I know that I haven't seen nothin' yet.


Fred Mangels said...

Yep, and on an even less intense scale, I was wondering what would happen if we had wind and rain like we had the last few days but it lasted 3 or 4 months without a break? Nothing says it couldn't happen.

Even if there wasn't massive flooding, people who work outside like gardeners and roofers would be devastated.

I tend to enjoy a good rain. It gives me an excuse to sit at home and play on the computer without feeling guilty. But I've wondering the last few days what I'd do if the rain didn't stop for a month or two or three?

Ernie Branscomb said...

I've seen some pretty strange weather in my lifetime. 1964 was the strangest year that I can remember. We were snowed out of the woods in Piercy in May. It was the lowest recorded river flow in history that summer, then we had record snowfall, then the we finished of the year with a major flood.

Fred Mangels said...

I wonder what the longest recorded period of continual rain has been up here?

bobbi said...

I've wondered about a superstorm in California.. this doesn't paint a pretty picture. How the heck do you prepare for that?!

Ernie Branscomb said...

How do you prepare?

Have a lot of food and water, and at least a months supply of medicine that you take. Have plenty of warm clothing and blankets, soap, matches, radio and batteries, more for entertainment than help, because there won’t be any. The first “help” that you get will do more harm than good, because the first people out there are usually more into controlling than helping.

Stay away from low places where you might get trapped in flooding. Have a small gas cook stove. Have a small caliber rifle. You can eat squirrels if you have to. Organize neighborhood groups to help each other, and protect yourselves from opportunists, because their won’t be any law enforcement.

Been there, done that a few times, it can be hecka interesting to watch.

Robin Shelley said...

My neighbor recorded 30" of rain last month & almost 4" on the first day of this month.

Ernie Branscomb said...

It has been a real wet year this year, but most of the major storms have gone to the north of us.

Garberville's rainfall is at 37 inches

Robin Shelley said...

Three days straight of major storms here on the Oregon coast. One right after the other with very little reprieve in between. 70 mph wind, something I wasn't used to in L'ville, can be downright scary!

Anonymous said...

This epic flood of the 1861-62 winter no doubt played a major role in the short life of Fort Seward. In August of 1861 the Commander of the military in the West, General Sumner gave the orders to establish a post to be called Ft. Seward on either the Van Dusen or on Larabee Creek. The choice of location was left to the discretion of (then)Captain Lovell, who wrote in late September that it was his honor to have chosen a better location than those mentioned. He requested some carpenters, mechanics and oxen teams, and wondered if he could get some supplies by boat as the winter would bring feet of snow to the surrounding hills. General Sumner issued orders and instructions to build a large base, and to expedite it and let HQ know when it was constructed so that Ft. Humboldt could send all of its supplies to Ft. Seward and close up. !
If the November rains started up here like they did in Oregon, they had only a month or so to construct the fort. There are missing details in what is going on, but by December, there is concern over the Fort getting supplies. Locals sold the soldiers 1000lbs of flour so complete starvation was not a threat. Apparently there was a mutiny of some sort, as many soldiers were up for court martial in the spring of 1862.
After a number of petitions and appeals, the citizens of Long Valley were very pleased to have Major McGarry pass through in early 1862 with a large detachment of calvary. To now have a military base so (relatively)close to Long Valley was an assurance to these settlers and ranchers who had been taking stock losses for a few years.
Meanwhile it is still raining... McGarry(sp?)'s force fight their way across swollen streams and the Main Eel and reach Ft. Seward with supplies. The Fort was in such a bad state that both detachments simply abandoned the place and made their slow way back to Ft. Humboldt. The soldiers had only accomplished the construction of one hut and a cooking oven in all that time, and I assume that they must have been mostly tenting it during the winter deluge. A lack of winter forage took a huge toll on the horses and by the time the column arrived at Ft. Humboldt, many of the horses were near death. A number of men went directly into the brig and waited for months for their court martials. So many men are being held for courtmartial at Ft. Humboldt that, at one point, the commander of the base laments that he has about half of his command in jail and the other half guarding them.
Later in the spring there was a report from Ft. Seward at how lovely the location was and how the locals, many close to Cottondom, had rooked the government on their food purchases.
And that is a brief history of how the center of military activities for Humboldt County was almost at Ft. Seward. I assume that the torrential rains, flooded creeks, and Main Eel highwaters played a huge role in the demise and abandonment of the base.