California is preparing for possible megafloods that could bring more than 100 inches of rain in some areas of the state, which experts are linking to climate change.
A study by the journal Science Advances reported climate change has doubled the chances of major flooding happening in California in the next four decades.
The study suggests the state, which already grapples with wildfires and droughts, could face an extreme month of storms and flooding.
“In the future scenario, the storm sequence is bigger in almost every respect,” said Daniel Swain, UCLA climate scientist who co-authored the study. “There’s more rain overall, more intense rainfall on an hourly basis and stronger wind.”
The megaflood warnings could match the level of the Great Flood of 1862, when floodwaters stretched up to 300 miles long and 60 miles wide across California’s Central Valley.
At the time, roughly 500,000 people occupied the state, compared to about 40 million residents today.
Experts predict that if a similar event of such scale occurred today, it could impact heavily populated areas, including Stockton, Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles.
The damage could exceed $1 trillion, the largest amount for damages in world history.