In New California Disaster Era of 'Fire-Floods,' Where Will Deadly Debris Flows Strike Next?

(TNS) - Brent Larson awoke at 4 a.m. to the shake and rumble of what felt like a freight train rolling down the hill toward his Santa Barbara County home.

He leaped from his bed and woke his two sons. In seconds, a wall of water, mud and rock slammed into his house, smashing through one window, then the next, then a third, pouring in as the trio sprinted to the safety of the chimney at the home’s far corner.

“It was like out of ‘Indiana Jones,’” he said, nine months later, still shaken.

More Intense Heat Waves in California’s Future, According to New Assessment

In the wake of hurricanes Florence and Michael and myriad other devastating storms and wildfires stacking up during the last decade, an updated assessment of California’s changing climate offers the projection of more of the same.

The assessment said Californians can expect more heat and more extreme weather, which would lead to more wildfires, floods, drought and public health issues. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment was produced as part of a volunteer initiative by climate experts. The assessment updates the third one issued in 2012.

Federal Government Will Shrink California Beach City’s Flood Zone

A report says a Southern California beach city has persuaded federal officials to exclude about 2,700 coastal properties from updated flood maps, saving homeowners thousands in insurance costs.

The Los Angeles Times reported that as a result, homeowners in parts of Newport Beach would save up to $3,700 each, or $10 million combined, each year in premiums.

California Bills Inspired by 2017 Mudslides and Fires Clear Committee

Two bills inspired by the 2017 mudslides and fires in California that are designed to help prevent homeowners from being underinsured when disaster strikes passed the Assembly Insurance Committee on Wednesday.

The bills, sponsored by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, passed out of the committee with a unanimous vote. Assembly Bill 1797, authored by Assemblyman Levine, D-Marin County, and Assembly Bill 1875, authored by Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, will help homeowners avoid being underinsured, a terrible problem faced by many survivors of the 2017 fires, according to Jones.

‘Precipitation Whiplash’ Could Eventually Trigger Catastrophic California Flooding

In California in 1862, the area between Sacramento and San Francisco became, in effect, an inland sea of about 300 miles long by 30 miles wide after 40 to 45 straight days of rain.

That area is now home to millions of people and the state Capitol. What would happen if that type of rain event occurred in the near future, and what’s the likelihood? The answer to the first question is, there would be complete devastation. In looking for an answer to the second question scientists invoke a phenomenon they’re calling “precipitation whiplash.”

This refers to the rapid transitions between precipitation extremes and the opposite — so a heavy season of rain followed immediately by drought or vice versa. This, scientists say in a study published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, is what California can expect in its future because of the warming climate.

It means that severe rain or drought will be concentrated in more narrow intervals of time than they have been traditionally. It means, possibly, more extreme flooding events and more drought.

California's Deadly 1862 Flood Likely to Repeat Within 50 Years, Study Says

(TNS) - The 1862 flood that went down as the worst washout in modern California history, transforming the Central Valley into a raging sea and stealing countless lives and property, is often described as an improbable 200-year event.

A study published Monday, however, turns those odds in a bad way, saying extreme weather swings from brutal dry spells to intense storms will become increasingly frequent, a phenomenon the authors dub “precipitation whiplash.”

Climate Change Will Make California's Drought-Flood Cycle More Volatile, Study Finds

(TNS) - Californians should expect more dramatic swings between dry and wet years as the climate warms, according to a new study that found it likely that the state will be hit by devastating, widespread flooding in coming decades.

UC researchers in essence found that California's highly volatile climate will become even more volatile as human-caused climate change tinkers with atmospheric patterns over the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The long-term average of annual precipitation in California won't change much, they predicted.

California Mudslide Victims ID’d as Crews Continue Survivor Search

The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

The number of reported deaths from the mudslide has reached 17.

“At this moment, we are still looking for live victims,” Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said. But he confessed: “The likelihood is increasing that we’ll be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that.”

At least 13 Dead as Heavy Rains Trigger Flooding, Mudflows and Freeway Closures Across Southern California

(TNS) - At least 13 people were killed Tuesday when a rainstorm sent mud and debris coursing through Montecito neighborhoods and left rescue crews to scramble through clogged roadways and downed trees to search for victims.

The deluge that washed over Santa Barbara County early Tuesday was devastating for a community that was ravaged by the Thomas fire only a few weeks earlier. In just a matter of minutes, pounding rain overwhelmed the south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek that leads to the ocean, sending mud and massive boulders rolling into residential neighborhoods, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason.

At least 25 other people were injured, authorities said at an afternoon press conference. Crews rescued 50 people by air and dozens more from the ground.

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