A new study published in the journal Sciences Advances on Friday warned that California could be hit by a “megaflood” in the near future. Coming at a time when the state and entire world is grappling with historic droughts, the prospects of a megaflood may seem unlikely. However, the researchers say that climate change has created a ripe environment for the megaflood that should be expected soon. 

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In the paper, researchers state that climate change has doubled the chances of an event “capable of producing catastrophic flooding” occurring in California. They predict that such an event could occur in the next four decades if all factors remain constant, or if the present trajectory is upheld. 

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California has experienced two historical droughts in the last decade. As a result, the state has gotten accustomed to water scarcity than abundance in the modern era. However, researchers say that historical evidence shows that the state is also vulnerable to excess rainfall. They argue that climate change increases the chances of such a major storm occurring in the future. In the 20th century, the state has already experienced many flooding events in the years 1969, 1986 and 1997. However, the Great Flood between 1861 to 1862 has been the largest so far.

Such an event occurring today would lead to widespread catastrophic flooding, leading to the displacement of millions of people. Further, such an event would necessitate the long-term closure of key transportation corridors and lead to almost $1 trillion in economic losses. Based on their analysis, it will only need a little increase in the amount of precipitation the state receives to trigger such an event.

Via NBC News

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