California has a storm of "biblical proportions" every 200 years

The incessant rain in California for the last several weeks is just a taste of what's to come in the formerly drought-plagued state, says Rachel Becker in The Verge.

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The most recent was a series of storms that lasted for a near-biblical 43 days between 1861 and 1862, creating a vast lake where California’s Central Valley had been. Floodwaters drowned thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of cattle, and forced the state’s government to move from Sacramento to San Francisco.

More than 150 years have passed since California’s last, great flood — and a team of researchers with the US Geological Survey have predicted what kind of damage a similar flood would cause today. Their simulation, called the ARkStorm, anticipates that a stretch of the Central Valley 300 miles long by 20 miles wide would be underwater. Cities up and down the coast of California would flood. Winds would howl 60 to 125 miles per hour, and landslides would make roads impassable.

Image: Christopher Michel / Bay Area Storms 2017 Read the rest

What happens when wells run dry in California's drought?

Filmmaker Katherine Espejo has been documenting how the increasingly grim drought is affecting her home town in Central California, focusing on parts of East Porterville, where some wells have begun running dry. Read the rest

California drought: State orders historic water cuts for farmers

“The state is reaching back more than a century in the hierarchy of California water rights,” reports the Los Angeles Times.