California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

by B. Lynn Ingram, January 1, 2013

 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again

Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometers.