There's something uniquely terrifying about the word 'superstorm.' Maybe it's the "super." Or the "storm." Either way, California might be utterly destroyed by a weeks-long superstorm one of these days, say scientists. Get your luxury canoes ready.
Some scientists got together at one of their doom-predicting conferences recently to consider superstorms, which are capable of dropping ten feet of rain across California and are becoming ever more likely in our warming world. Here's what happened 150 years ago when a superstorm hit Central California, according to the New York Times
150 years ago, over a few weeks in the winter of 1861-62, enough rain fell to inundate a stretch of the Central Valley 300 miles long and 20 miles wide, from north of Sacramento south to Bakersfield, near the eastern desert.
The storms lasted 45 days, creating lakes in parts of the Mojave Desert and, according to asurvey account, "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 Gov. Leland Stanford to take a rowboat to his inauguration."
According to these scientists, the damage from a superstorm could be four-to-five times more devastating than an earthquake and impact one quarter of all houses in California.
What do you think, Californians: Would you rather be destroyed by a superstorm, an earthquake or wildfires? From a purely journalistic standpoint, a 45-day storm would fill a lot of newshole.
[Image of last month's flooding in California via Getty]