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Rare L.A. Mega-storm Could Overwhelm Dam and Flood Dozens of Cities, Experts Say

Rare L.A. Mega-storm Could Overwhelm Dam and Flood Dozens of Cities, Experts Say

Created: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 14:01
Categories:
Natural Disasters, Research, Resilience

Researchers and engineers warn that California may be due for rain of biblical proportions – or what they call an “ArkStorm” (for Atmospheric River 1,000). According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a rare storm could last for weeks and would send more than 1.5 million people fleeing as floodwaters inundated cities and formed lakes in the Central Valley and Mojave Desert. Experts believe this would result in three times as much damage as a major earthquake ripping along the San Andreas Fault, with estimated structural and economic damage amounting to more than $725 billion statewide. One of the structures that is expected to be impacted by a very large, very rare storm is the Whittier Narrows Dam. In a series of recent public hearings, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials told residents that the 60-year-old dam no longer met the agency’s tolerable-risk guidelines and could fail in the event of such a storm. The Corps is seeking up to $600 million in federal funding to upgrade the 3-mile-long dam, and say the project has been classified as the agency’s highest priority nationally, due to the risk of “very significant loss of life and economic impacts.” Read the article at the Los Angeles Times.