the "Biblical" California flood of 1862

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Beginning on Christmas Eve, 1861, and continuing into early 1862, an extreme series of storms lasting 45 days struck California.

The storms caused severe flooding, turning the Sacramento Valley into an inland sea,

forcing the State Capital to be moved from Sacramento to San Francisco for a time, and requiring Governor Leland Stanford to take a rowboat to his inauguration.

Truly prodigious rains resulted, with the mining town of Sonora receiving 8.5 feet of rain over a 2-month period !

William Brewer, author of “Up and down California,” wrote on January 19, 1862, “The great central valley of the state is under water—the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys—a region 250 to 300 miles long and an average of at least twenty miles wide, or probably three to three and a half millions of acres!”

In southern California lakes were formed in the Mojave Desert and the Los Angeles Basin. The Santa Ana River tripled its highest-ever estimated discharge, cutting arroyos into the southern California landscape and obliterating the ironically named Agua Mansa (Smooth Water), then the largest community between New Mexico and Los Angeles.

The storms wiped out nearly a third of the taxable land in California, leaving the State bankrupt.

if this event repeated today:

The USGS suggests that up to 120” of rain might fall in California over the course of such an event

(in favored orographic locations) the run-off from which would flood the entire Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys as well as the basins of Southern California. A very detailed analysis from the report predicts damage to exceed $300 billion with up to 225,000 people permanently displaced (in terms of complete destruction of dwellings) and a further 1.2 million forced into evacuation

CAHistoryRmCAStateLib_csl_011.jpg

Edited by trioderob
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M m my my momma says trioderob's the devil.

post-126-081317900 1296253996_thumb.jpg

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Well it shows those extreme weatherevents are from all times!

Alexander

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Well it shows those extreme weatherevents are from all times!

Alexander

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M m my my momma says trioderob's the devil.

:huh::floor:

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Now it would be a real bad scene if one of those events happened in conjunction with an earthquake.

dk

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No, it would be perfect because all the rain would have a place to go when all those cracks in the earth open up- just before we fall off into the Pacific :D

I LOVE doom & gloom!

It would be quite an event to see in a lifetime. I would have to buy a rowboat, I guess.

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This just dawned on me the other day, but back in 1861 and 1862 there was no levee system in place. The central valley (at least in my neck of the woods) was all wetlands anyways, so it makes sense that with a lot of rain you are going to have an expansive wetland area, more so than normal. I don't really see this as being as much of a problem these days because we have our entire water system bottled up and channeled in certain directions. We may have a levee break here and there from excessive load, but I'm speculating that the outcome will be much like the "el nino" events in '95. Very wet, some flooding.

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Was just looking at the data from Oroville and Shasta.

Both are relatively full - looks like outflows are increasing to make way for winter.

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