Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Forgotten Catastrophe

From Scientific American:
The specific weather pattern that the Native Americans of the West recognized and knew would bring particularly severe flooding is once again understood today. The powerful storms originate in the warm and moist tropical Pacific Ocean. Recent research describes these storms more broadly as “atmospheric rivers,” and they often result in the worst floods in not only the American West, but across the globe.

The tragic 1861-62 floods may have temporarily served to wake-up the residents of California and the West to the possible perils of their region’s weather. They saw nature at its most unpredictable and terrifying, turning in a day or an hour from benign to utterly destructive. But the costs to the state went beyond the loss of life, property and resources: California’s spirit and confidence was badly shaken. (Read more.)

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