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View Diary: California Megastorm as sign of Catastrophic Climate Chaos Cliff (187 comments)

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  •  The Sacramento Bee (26+ / 0-)

    did a good article after Katrina on "Pineapple Express" storms. It is scary how subject to serious flooding the city is. Of course before the levees were built, in the 1800s downtown Sacramento used to flood often. If you go to midtown you can see that many or maybe most of the older homes are built on a high-water format with the front door being on the second story and the first floor level being a basement type area that could be more or less abandoned in the case of flooding.

    Here is the Pineapple Express article -

    Unlike other cities that sit on high ground or bluffs above rivers, much of flood-prone Sacramento sits lower than the levees and the rivers at flood stage. That means places such as Natomas, downtown, east Sacramento, Rosemont, North Sacramento, Oak Park, Curtis Park, Land Park, River Park, Greenhaven, the Pocket, south Sacramento and assorted neighborhoods along the north and south sides of the American River would fill up like giant soup bowls during a disaster-level flood.

    Sacramento's levees offer less protection than those in many other cities. Officials worry they could fail or overtop if a large late winter or early spring storm system brought more water than they were designed to handle. Warm "Pineapple Express" systems are especially feared, because they can sidle up against the mountains, rain for days, and cause too much snow to melt at once and barrel down river corridors.

    •  This is interesting too (20+ / 0-)

      After renewed flooding in March 1850, Sacramentans built miles of levees from the Sutterville area to the south, up the Sacramento until it met the American, and along the American to high ground.

      That worked. Temporarily.

      In 1852 and 1853, the city went under water again. Again, the levees were improved. The city grew, doubling its population from the 1850 level. For eight years, citizens thought they were safe from flood.

      But the winter of 1861-62 found Sacramento under water again. In January, water from the American River washed through the city and spilled over levees into the Sacramento River.

      "The city is one vast lake, and boats are busily engaged passing to and fro, conveying people in search of meals and lodgings," wrote The Daily Bee, in a "Flood Sheet" published while its building was under water.

      While the homeless bivouaced on the levee, The Bee editorialized that things were not so bad and remarked on the "picturesqueness of the scene."

      It was bad enough. After three major floods in less than 12 years, folks decided to do something.

      While some favored abandoning the city, or at least moving the state capital to San Francisco, Sacramento undertook literally to raise itself out of the mire.

      Sacramentans endeavored to bring street level -- or grade -- above known flood stages by dumping wagonloads of dirt and gravel on the streets, as much as 10 feet in front of some buildings.

      Fitful efforts at raising the city by filling in streets had occurred after the 1853 flood, but now Sacramentans went at it with a fervor.

      The area raised eventually included I to L streets, and from Front to 11th. Not only streets were filled. What is now Cesar Chavez Park had to be raised after it became a dumping ground.

    •  I grew up in Sacramento in the '70s (9+ / 0-)

      I thought people everywhere lived with flooding.  So glad I left that foggy bottom and moved to a high hill made of bed rock in San Francisco.   It may shake but it won't flood.

      Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails instead of their tongues. -Anonymous

      by gloryous1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 03:52:42 PM PST

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      •  I grew up here too and this doesn't seem at all (6+ / 0-)

        out of the ordinary.  I remember some whopper flooding back in the 80s.  They closed down Highway 50 along with a ton of other places.

        I am just glad that warm rain happened early and not later after the winter snows are put down.

        "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

        by Sychotic1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:10:06 PM PST

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        •  My basement flooded then (2+ / 0-)

          Sand bags everywhere.  Now that was rain!

          Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails instead of their tongues. -Anonymous

          by gloryous1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:30:00 PM PST

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          •  I remember the creek in front of my son's (0+ / 0-)

            school flooding in the 90s, but the 80s still had the worst floods to be sure.

            "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

            by Sychotic1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 07:17:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  1981-82 was awful (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gloryous1, Sychotic1

              That winter we had one storm after another.  The hillside on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge slid down, blocking Highway 101.  The creeks in Mill Valley flooded and turned Miller Avenue into a river; you couldn't get out of the town for several days.  Houses slid down hillsides in Sausalito and Woodacre, killing several people.

              So far, this storm does not compare.

              I agree with others -- the temperature has been surprisingly warm.  If it weren't for the rain, you wouldn't need to wear a jacket during the day.

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