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California residents at this point in time should be pretty well versed in the need to prepare for natural disasters. From earthquakes to wildfires to flooding and landslides, The Golden State is no stranger to the potential wrath of Mother Nature.
Typically California disasters strike with little early warning time. Be it the 7.0+ quakes that shake their way underfoot at startling speed or the horrific wildfires that turn entire neighborhoods to smoking rubble in less time than it takes to escape their path, usually there's not much advance heads up.
The Super El Nino that experts agree is now 100% certain to impact the Western US this winter is the strongest in recorded history. Looking at historical El Nino data and the weather impacts they've caused, it's clear that California is getting a rare chance to be prepared this time.
Expected impacts are high winds, monsoonal rain (and heavy snowpack at high elevations), landslides and mudslides. Expect loss of power and utilities for extended periods as discussed below.
What Can You Do?
Via sierranewsonline.com COARSEGOLD – Though not every El Niño brings torrential rain and the resulting disasters, analysts believe with 95 percent certainty that this winter’s event will do just that, says John Kirk of the California Department of Water Resources.
The larger the El Niño, the more significant the possibility of long thin bands of atmospheric moisture, called Atmospheric Rivers, said Kirk. Microwave images show these rivers streaming across the Pacific Ocean at 6,000 to 7,000 miles in length and a mile wide, carrying as much moisture as the Amazon River.
“This type of rainfall in the great storms of 1861-1862 brought sequoias as large as 30 feet in diameter down to the Valley floor,” said Kirk.
The ARkStorm (Atmospheric River 1,000 Storm) scenario has California experiencing 23 days of rain, causing massive flooding in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, with anticipated flooding of an area 20 miles wide, 300 miles long, and up to 18 feet deep in places. This would be the costliest disaster in the state’s history, and ten times worse than Hurricane Katrina because it would cover the entire state, said Kirk, who noted that this type of storm occurs every 100-200 years.
The YLOA has compiled a list of resources and website links to assist everyone in preparing for this type of emergency. It is available on their website at http://yloa.org/safety/be-prepared.