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The Great Flood of 1862 Could Repeat

  • New research suggests climate change is increasing the likelihood of a massive “mega-flood” in California, similar to the Great Flood of 1862.
  • This disaster, caused by more than 40 days of constant rain, resulted in the death of 4,000 people.
  • Floodwaters from this disaster created an “inland sea” 300 miles long and 60 miles wide in some places.

A new study raises concerns about climate-change-fueled floods dropping massive amounts of water on drought-stricken California — an unlikely scenario that has happened before.

While intense droughts, wildfires and earthquakes are usually the top concern across the West, the study released Friday warned of another looming crisis in California: “Megafloods.” He notes that climate change is increasing the risk of flooding that could overwhelm cities and displace millions of people across the state. It says a month-long extreme storm could bring feet of rain — in some places more than 100 inches — to hundreds of miles of California.

Although the script may sound like something out of a movie, it’s happened before.

California has experienced severe flooding throughout the 20th century, including in 1969, 1986 and 1997. But a flood from further back in time – the Great Flood of 1862 – is observed by researchers as the threat to California is growing day by day.

USA Today

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