Rain and Heat, Fire and Snow: Life in a Destabilized California

Yves here. Consumer marketers regularly claim that trends in America often start in California and then get taken up in the rest of the country. As the article describes, California is getting a big dose of climate change induced pain. But how will it react? Perhaps I am not close enough to the state and am missing important developments, but I don’t see much in the way of adequate responses to water scarcity, homebuilding in high fire risk areas, and the very sorry state of PG&E (versus the need for improved grids to allow for more electric vehicle use). If my take from afar is correct, the state is doing close to squat in the way of climate change adaptation.

PS. I lived in Oregon very near Portland for three years as a child. The rain never bothered me. It would typically not be heavy or last very long, and the ambient light level would stay pretty high even during the showers.

By Rebecca Gordon. Originally published at TomDispatch

It was January 1983 and raining in San Francisco.

The summer before, I’d moved here from Portland, Oregon, a city known for its perpetual gray drizzles and, on the 60-odd days a year when the sun deigns to shine, dazzling displays of greenery. My girlfriend had spent a year convincing me that San Francisco had much more to offer me than Portland did for her.

Every few months, I’d scrape the bottom of my bank account to travel to San Francisco and taste its charms. Once, I even hitched a ride on a private plane. (Those were the days!) In a week’s visit, she’d take me to multiple women’s music concerts — events you’d wait a year for in Portland. We’d visit feminist and leftist bookstores, eat real Mexican food, and walk through Golden Gate Park in brilliant sunshine. The sky would be clear, the city would be sparkling, and she convinced me that San Francisco would indeed be paradise. Or at least drier than Portland.

So, I moved, but I wuz robbed! I knew it that first winter when, from December through March, the rain seemed to come down in rivers — atmospheric rivers, in fact — though none of us knew the term back then. That would be my initial encounter with, as a Mexican-American friend used to call it, “el pinche niño.” El Niño is the term meteorologists give to one-half of an oscillating cyclical weather phenomenon originating in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño usually brings drought to the southern parts of North America, as well as Central America, while deluging northern California and the Pacific Northwest. La Niña is the other half of that cycle, its effects roughly flipping those of El Niño geographically. (As for the meaning of “pinche,” go ahead and Google it.)

San Francisco sits in the sweet spot where, at least until the end of the last century, we would get winter rains at both ends of the cycle. And boy, did it rain that winter! I soon began to wonder whether any amount of love or any number of concerts could make up for the cold and mud. Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t really blame the girlfriend. The only other time I’d lived in San Francisco was during the then-unusual drought year of 1976. Of course, I came to believe then that it never rained here. So, really, if there was a bait-and-switch going on, I had pulled it on myself.

Still, looking back, as much as the rain annoyed me, I couldn’t have imagined how much I’d miss it two decades into the twenty-first century.

But Is It Climate Change? And Would That Actually Be So Bad?

Along with the rest of the western United States, my city has now been in the grip of a two-decade-long megadrought that has persisted through a number of El Niño/La Niña cycles. Scientists tell us that it’s the worst for the West and Southwest in at least the last 1,200 years. Since 2005, I’ve biked or walked the three miles from my house to the university where I teach. In all those years, there have probably been fewer than 10 days when rain forced me to drive or take the bus. Periodic droughts are not unknown in this part of the country. But climate scientists are convinced that this extended, deadly drought has been caused by climate change.

It wasn’t always that way. Twenty years ago, those of us who even knew about global warming, from laypeople to experts, were wary of attributing any particular weather event to it. Climate-change deniers and believers alike made a point of distinguishing between severe weather events and the long-term effects of changes in the climate. For the deniers, however, as the years went on, it seemed that no accumulation of symptoms — floods, droughts, heat waves, fires, or tornadoes — could legitimately be added together to yield a diagnosis of climate change. Or if climate change was the reason, then human activity didn’t cause it and it was probably a good thing anyway.

Not that long ago, it wasn’t even unusual to encounter “climate-change-is-good-for-you” articles in reasonably mainstream outlets. For example, the conservative British magazine The Spectator ran a Matt Ridley piece in 2013 that began: “Climate change has done more good than harm so far and is likely to continue doing so for most of this century. This is not some barmy, right-wing fantasy; it is the consensus of expert opinion.” It turned out that Ridley’s “consensus of expert opinion” derived from a single economist’s (and not a climate scientist’s) paper summarizing 14 other economists on the subject.

“The chief benefits of global warming,” Ridley wrote then, “include: fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; better agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; maybe richer biodiversity.” He added that, were the world’s economy to continue to grow by 3% annually, “the average person will be about nine times as rich in 2080 as she is today. So low-lying Bangladesh will be able to afford the same kind of flood defenses that the Dutch have today.”

There was so much wrong with those last two sentences (beginning with what “average” means), but I’ll content myself with pointing out that, in October 2022, historic floods covered one-third of Pakistan (next door to Bangladesh), including prime farmland the size of the state of Virginia. Thirty-three million people were affected by those floods that, according to the New York Times, “were caused by heavier-than-usual monsoon rains and glacial melt.” And what led to such unusual rain and melt? As the Times reported:

“Scientists say that global warming caused by greenhouse-gas emissions is sharply increasing the likelihood of extreme rain in South Asia, home to a quarter of humanity. And they say there is little doubt that it made this year’s monsoon season more destructive.”

It seems unlikely those floods will lead to “better agricultural yields.” (If only Pakistan had thought to build dikes, like the Dutch!)

Maybe it’s easy to take potshots at what someone like Ridley wrote almost a decade ago, knowing what we do now. Back then, views like his were not uncommon on the right and, all too sadly, they’re not rare even today. (Ridley is still at it, having recently written a piece twitting the British Conservative Party for supporting something as outré as wind power.) And of course, those climate change denials were supported (then and now) by the companies that stood to lose the most from confronting the dangers of greenhouse gases, not only the fossil-fuel industry (whose scientists knew with stunning accuracy exactly what was already happening on this planet as early as the 1970s), but electric companies as well.

Back in 2000, an ExxonMobile “advertorial” in the New York Times hit the trifecta: climate change isn’t real; or if it is, humans (and especially fossil-fuel companies!) aren’t responsible; and anyway it might be a good thing. Titled “Unsettled Science,” the piece falsely argued that scientists could not agree on whether climate change was happening. (By that time, 90% of climate scientists, including ExxonMobile’s, had reached a consensus that climate change is real.) After all, the ad insisted, there had been other extended periods of unusual weather like the “little ice age” of the medieval era and, in any case, greenhouse gas concentrations vary naturally “for reasons having nothing to do with human activity.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that Exxon-Mobile tried to keep climate change controversial in the public mind. They had a lot to lose in a transition away from fossil fuels. It’s less common knowledge, however, that the company has long bankrolled climate denial “grassroots” organizations. In fact, its scientists knew about climate change as early as the 1950s and, in a 1977 internal memo, they summarized their research on the subject by predicting a one- to three-degree Celsius average temperature rise by 2050, pretty much the future we’re now staring at.

Water, Water, Anywhere?

California has been “lucky” this fall and winter. We’ve seen a (probably temporary) break in the endless drought. A series of atmospheric rivers have brought desperately needed rain to our valleys and an abundance of snow to the mountains. But not everyone has been celebrating, as floods have swept away homes, cars, and people up and down the state. They’ve shut down highways and rail lines, while forcing thousands to evacuate. After years of thirst, for a few weeks the state has been drowning; and, as is so often the case with natural disasters, the poorest people have been among those hardest hit.

I’ve always enjoyed the delicious smugness of lying in a warm bed listening to wind and water banging at my windows. These days it’s a guilty pleasure, though, because I know how many thousands of unhoused people have suffered in and even died during the recent storms. In Sacramento, rain marooned one tent encampment, as the spit of land it occupied became an island. In the city of Ontario, near Los Angeles, flash floods washed away people’s tents and may have drowned as many as 10 of their inhabitants.

My own city responded to the rains with police sweeps of unhoused people hours before a “bomb cyclone” hit on January 4th. In such a “sweep,” police and sometimes other officials descend suddenly to enforce city ordinances that make it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk. They make people “move along,” confiscating any belongings they can’t carry off. Worse yet, shelters in the city were already full. There was nowhere inside for the unhoused to go and many lost the tents that had been their only covering.

The same climate change that’s prolonged the drought has exacerbated the deadly effects of those rainstorms. Over the last few years, record wildfires have consumed entire communities. Twenty years of endless dry days have turned our forests and meadows into tinderboxes, just waiting for a spark. Now, when rain bangs down in such amounts on already burnt, drought-hardened land, houses slide down hills, trees are pulled from the earth, and sinkholes open in roads and highways.

There is one genuine piece of luck here, though. Along with the rain, more than twice as much snow as would accumulate in an average year has covered the Sierra mountains of northern California. This is significant because many cities in the region get their water from the Sierra runoff. San Francisco is typical. Its municipal water supply comes from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, near Yosemite National Park, fed from that runoff. For now, it looks as if a number of cities could, for the first time in a while, have extra water available this year. But there’s always the chance that warm weather early in the spring will turn snow to rain, melting away the snowpack and our hopes.

Much of northern California’s water comes from the Sierra mountains, but it’s a different story in the south. The 9.8 million residents of Los Angeles County, along with most of southern California, get their water from the Colorado River. A century-old arrangement governs water use by the seven states through which the Colorado runs, along with 30 tribal nations and parts of northern Mexico — about 40 million people in all. Historically, the “northern basin” states, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, have been allocated 7.5 million acre-feet of water a year. Nevada, California, and Arizona have received 8.5 million and Mexico has treaty rights to 1.5 million. Dams on the two lakes — Mead in Nevada and Powell in Utah — provide hydroelectric power to many people in those same states.

The megadrought has drastically reduced the levels of these two artificial lakes that serve as reservoirs for those seven states. The original agreement assumed that 17.5 million acre-feet of water would be available annually (each acre-foot being about what two households might use in a year). For the last three years, however, the flow has fallen below 10 million acre-feet. This year, the states have been unable to agree on how to parcel out those allocations, so the Biden administration may have to step in and impose a settlement.

Both lakes are at their lowest historic levels since they were first filled. Several times, while working on a midterm election campaign in Reno, Nevada last year, I noticed stories in the local press about human remains being uncovered as Lake Mead’s shoreline recedes, some of them apparently victims of mob hits in decades past.

Less water in those giant lakes means less water for agriculture and residential consumption. But the falling water levels threaten a further problem: the potential failure of their dams to provide electric power crucial to millions. Last summer, Lake Mead dropped to within 90 feet of the depth at which its dam can no longer generate power. Some estimates suggest that Lake Powell’s Glen Canyon dam may stop producing electricity as soon as July.

Earthquakes, Drought, and Disaster

The woman I moved to San Francisco for (whom I’ve known since I was a young teen in the 1960s) spent her college years at the University of California, Berkeley. I remember her telling me, in the summer of 1969, that she and a number of friends had spent the previous spring semester celebrating the coming end of the world as they knew it. Apparently, some scientists had then predicted that a giant earthquake would cause the San Francisco Bay Area to collapse into the Pacific Ocean. Facing such a possible catastrophe, a lot of young folks decided that they might as well have a good party. There was smoking and drinking and dancing to welcome the approaching apocalypse. (When a Big One did hit 20 years later, the city didn’t exactly fall into the ocean, but a big chunk of the San Francisco Bay Bridge did go down.)

Over the last months, we Californians have experienced both historic drought and historic rainfall. The world as we knew it really is ending faster than some of us ever expected. Now that we’re facing an imminent catastrophe, one already killing people around the globe and even in my state, it’s hard to know how to respond. Somehow, I don’t feel like partying though. I think it’s time to fight.

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  1. BeliTsari

    Do folks like the author have any concept of perspective? That us po’ folk knew exactly when AGW went from what we were taught about melting ice cap, slowing Gulf stream in the mid 60s, when API’s president’s “time is running out” speech, seemed to be ignored by kids driving to “American Graffiti,” in red-lined streetcar suburbs they were gentrifying us out of, a decade later. Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was appropriated into our betters’ “ecology movement” and Google SEOs you to up-front denial, now, from Columbia .edu climate obfuscatory pleonasm? We’d been told, it’d happen long after our deaths. Methane fireballs where the permafrost used to be & ginormous firestorms threating tar-sand bitimen in Canadian, Greenland melting away as Russian LNG tankers ply the arctic, to rescue Japan from triple reactilor meltdowns are now, deniable memories, dismissed by academia for hire, PR releases? Meanwhile, we’d been checking to see how far east fracking had advanced into Pennsyltucky. Lots of NOAA folks retired to the western Alleghenies only to run into brine trucks, rigs, crank, opioids, prostitution as MSNBC’s Ed Rendell gavaged pediatric blood cancers & poisoned aquifers, waterways, radium flavored brine sprayed roads, Israeli rent-a-spook companies investigating & setting up Hillary’s Rooski-paid ecoterrorists (which she’d basically read verbatim, from Rick Berman’s oilgarch agitprop, for TD Bank/ TransCanada) 63yr old farmers in solitary, for protecting her farm, dying victims sued, State & 3rd party inspectors all threatened with prosecution for doing their jobs, arrested for whistleblowing, “that was ME, people” from kleptocrats! As long as they get gas to scores-of-thousands of replacement boilers in NYC, so slumlord superdelegates can move their carbon footprint 140 miles into Frackistan? And Cancer Valley invades Pittsburgh?

  2. Lexx

    That didn’t happen.
    And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
    And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
    And if it is, that’s not my fault.
    And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
    And if I did, you deserved it.

    ‘The Narcissist’s Prayer (by Dayna Craig) beautifully illustrates the inner workings of the narcissistic mind. Denial, gaslighting, minimising poor behaviour, blameshifting and shamedumping all feature in this one simple verse, all hallmarks of covert emotional abuse. To a narcissist the ‘truth’ is not seen as a finite, fixed entity, but as being malleable – as being whatever the narcissist says it is, at the time they say it. The truth is simply whatever serves the narcissist at that particular time.’

    We keep electing narcissists to public office, who deal with public problems as they have their private ones. These skills are requisite for party support and donor backing. The play won’t change until we call them out on it en masse and refuse the party’s choice and replace them with our own. People in positions of authority and power are not our ‘social betters’; they are temporarily in positions of social trust (a privilege) and that trust must be earned from us.

  3. CaliDan

    The below is a link to––and I’m guessing by the decor––a high school physics teacher demonstrating the terrible wonders of geometric growth, for those who would prefer a visual reference to what our author tries to articulate. Apply it to dynamic ecosystems as you like. 2’33”, but you only need to watch 1′ or so to get the gist.


  4. barefoot charley

    What a wanton waste of time. I’ll tell you what California’s doing about climate change: homeowners insurance is canceled across the state. It can only be replaced by a state program that the program itself warns you is far inferior in payout and higher in cost than private insurance. And we spend billions now on ‘fuel load reduction’ in our forests, which is not to be confused with logging, because logging is bad but you can still sell the trees. We all know what California isn’t doing.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      I really can’t take the author seriously. She makes no mention of policy decisions associated with forest management, lack of infrastructure maintenance, etc that greatly impact how large the effects of drought and rain events are. And apparently the California Aqueduct system that transports water from the Eastern Sierra to Southern California doesn’t exist since Southern California “gets all its water from the Colorado river”.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes, I chose not to list her errors and inanities, but cannot forbear disgust that this person claims to be an educator–at Cal?! But she must be good, she rides a bike to work. And more important, says so.

  5. David in Santa Cruz

    I’m about to leave California for good after being born there two-thirds of a century ago. The cycle of Atmospheric Rivers and Mega-droughts is nothing new — it’s simply the amplitude that seems to have increased.

    There is something else that has radically changed. During the decade in which I was born (the 1950’s) the state’s population increased from 10 million to 15 million. By the time I hit high school in 1971 the population had increased to 19 million. Today, that is less than the population of Los Angeles County alone. The current “official” population is 39.6 million — although the Department of Finance under Jerry Brown suggested that this undercounts work visa and undocumented immigrants by about 4 million.

    During my lifetime nearly nothing has been done to improve the water, electrical, and gas infrastructure and little to improve transportation. Agricultural land has been paved-over for housing (it’s flat!!) but nowhere near enough to keep up with population growth. For most it’s “the frog in the pot,” but in the arc of my life many of the pleasant places of my memory are now unbearably hectic with traffic, tenements, and strange customs.

    It’s not just Exxon-Mobil (not fingernails-on-a-blackboard “Mobile”). It’s the narcissism of 8 billion ordinary people mindlessly breeding themselves beyond of the carrying-capacity of our beautiful planet.

    1. anon in so cal

      Agree. Imho, it is the worst form of imperialism for humans to disregard the wellbeing of other living species and imperil them with continued human demographic growth.

      In CA, Gavin Newsom tries to increase the numbers with billboard ads in Florida urging people to move to CA. Newsom also campaigned on mandating construction of 3.5 million new homes. Where would the water come from? To say nothing of the open space / habitat that would be concreted over.

      This article partially documented former CA Gov Pat Brown’s policies’ effects on CA population growth. Brown, Sr. is thought to have unleashed the waves that guarantee CA will be paved over.

      “Pat Brown was offering an ambitious vision of California as he campaigned across the state for the measure: California as its own vast and diverse nation, where the water of the north would feed the population and farm growth to the south. “He thought it was irresponsible not to plan for the growth that was coming,” Kathleen Brown said. “He used to say, ‘If you don’t want to manage and build for this growth today, we’ll have to do something else tomorrow.’ ”

      In a letter cited in “California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown,” the biography by Mr. Rarick, Pat Brown argued that he had no choice. “What are we to do? Build barriers around California and say nobody else can come in because we don’t have enough water to go around?”

      Those decisions have led to questions 50 years later, of whether those policies set the stage for the problems that confront California. Marc Reisner argued in “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water,” his widely respected book on Western water battles, that Pat Brown, who was from Northern California, deliberately pushed a water system designed to encourage population growth in Southern California.”


      Separately, while climate change explains the mega-drought and surely exacerbated the effects of the recent rains, climate scientists do not think the recent heavy rains are due to climate change.

      As California emerges from a two-week bout of deadly atmospheric rivers, a number of climate researchers say the recent storms appear to be typical of the intense, periodic rains the state has experienced throughout its history and not the result of global warming.

      Although scientists are still studying the size and severity of storms that killed 19 people and caused up to $1 billion in damage, initial assessments suggest the destruction had more to do with California’s historic drought-to-deluge cycles, mountainous topography and aging flood infrastructure than it did with climate-altering greenhouse gasses.

      Although the media and some officials were quick to link a series of powerful storms to climate change, researchers interviewed by The Times said they had yet to see evidence of that connection. Instead, the unexpected onslaught of rain and snow after three years of punishing drought appears akin to other major storms that have struck California every decade or more since experts began keeping records in the 1800s.


      “houses sliding down hillsides”

      Sometimes / often due to local building and safety and planning / zoning department corruption. Developers get variances to construct monstrosities on 1-to-1 slopes and some people are surprised when the hillside collapses. Also due to misguided fire department practices. Under the rubric of “fire prevention” “brush clearance,” the hillsides are scraped bare of stabilizing vegetation. A lot of corruption gets swept under the climate change rug.

      1. barefoot charley

        Excellent comment! Newsom’s plan for materializing 3.5 million homes is simple: erase local zoning controls, hence disempowering NIMBYs. The new units are apartments located on transportation corridors especially in the Bay Area, where our apex monopolists announced years ago that they’ll need one or two hundred thousand more worker drones any year now, who must be hived.

        On the other hand, these plans are incorporated into statutory city and county housing plans, which have long mandated new-housing numbers issued from the state, which until now have never been achieved. It’s safe to say they won’t be. The tragedy is that California’s only actual hope is for its recent population declines to accelerate massively. And those new apt complexes could become . . . Big Box stores? Or homeless shelters.

  6. Tom Stone

    Bluntly, it’s not going to get better.
    California Government is too corrupt.
    And my nightmare is still a 6.8 quake on the Hayward/Rogers Creek Fault during an October high offshore wind event, at night.
    Lots of high pressure gas lines will break, underground fuel storage tanks rupture, the refineries and storage in Contra Costa County are going to be damaged and the disaster response coordination center is across from Eden Hospital, 80 ‘ deep in the middle of the Fault.
    It was built as a bomb shelter and someone was a bit neglectful when choosing the site.
    21 years after 9/11 the Bay Area emergency systems can not communicate with each other directly, thier equipment is not compatible.

  7. LY

    California consists of regions that are like multiple states. Its problems are the same that plagues post-war America. It’s tied into real estate development for suburban sprawl, car culture, and agribusiness. Oh, and fire suppression.

    As for trends starting in California, Arizona and Nevada are following in the footsteps of Southern California. Oregon and Washington following in the footsteps of Northern California.

  8. Sue inSoCal

    There are some excellent comments here. I’ve been in CA longer than I’ve lived anywhere. Mainly, Sacramento, formerly City of Trees, now City of Concrete. 30+ years ago, there was a person in my family living there who said “bring on climate change. It’s too cold”. Insane. Check out Yasha Levine on the private water rights of the Resnick Pom Empire and his upcoming film. I saw a photo op of Newsom cutting the ribbon for one of Pom’s projects. It will make you urp up your oatmeal.


  9. playon

    Interesting to read this and the comments, as my spouse and I have been considering moving to the Humboldt country coast for retirement (the Arcata/Eureka/Fortuna area). We have been looking at houses in western WA but the reality is that for the first time since I can remember, single family homes are cheaper and more abundant in this part of CA than they are in northwest WA. I know about the earthquakes and the occasional heavy rains in this area, but am not too concerned. Anyone else care to comment on the + or – of living in this area?

    1. Sue inSoCal

      Hi Playon, as far as I’m aware, there have been burns all the way up the coast to BC. These areas are still high burn risk. Here’s some information on those areas for you. It looks like they’ve passed some protection ordinances; perhaps someone on here lives in that location. Haven’t been there since the 90s, drove from Yreka over the Trinity Alps to Eureka. Absolutely spectacular.


      1. playon

        The coastal areas generally do not burn as they never become so dry as they do inland. The Camp Fire from 2018 was not in the Eureka area.

    2. barefoot charley

      Humboldt County is the least populated reach of our northern Pacific coast. That’s why I live here ( in the mountains south of micropolitan Humboldt Bay, which you ask about), but the bad news about its un-Californian qualities of clean air (when it’s not burning), abundant water (till recently) and cheaper housing (don’t tell the many homeless) is that the economy and culture aren’t large enough to create true city amenities. Medical care, like everywhere in rural America, is a hot mess after monopolization of hospital services by a so-called non-profit so-called Catholic chain. Professionals don’t want to live in the sticks. The most expensive town, Arcata, will be more so thanks to the recent conversion of our backwoods Humboldt State U to a needed polytechnic, which will grow quickly and make the town more unaffordable. Eureka is a timber town with no more timber, making its way. Fortuna is a pleasant enough suburb of nowhere. On the plus side it’s very beautiful if you like cool and damp, and it’s not very cookie-cutter yet. I’m glad I settled here, but it’s not for everyone. Finally, Arcata’s as blue as Berkeley in Birkenstocks, while Fortuna’s a red and proud Cow Town. Humboldt overall has changed colors dramatically over the last 10 years–lefties even run Eureka!

      1. joem

        Excellent summation of the culture and economy of the Humboldt coast. If the tech center at humboldt state takes off, Arcata might become a mini westwood village or U districts in Seattle or Eugene. A full rupture on the Cascadia subduction zone fault will eliminate much of the infrastructure on the Humboldt coast. Not to mention large loss of life.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      Lots of homeless, lots of trimigrants, lots of hippyness.
      And I’m not sure what you mean by affordable but I doubt there’s any deals on housing….

      1. playon

        In our price range there is more inventory as well as nicer homes when compared to western WA. For $425k you can get a very nice house in Fortuna, the same place in WA would be more like $500-600k. In Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties the houses are shockingly expensive, the prices in many places have gone up 40% just in the last 2-3 years. Lots of house flippers and the market is tight.

        We were looking specifically at Fortuna as it supposedly has sunnier weather than Eureka and Arcata. We live in a cowtown in very red county at the moment so that kind of thing doesn’t really bother us, and Arcata is a short drive away if we need some kultcha.

    4. Jg

      Look towards Crescent City. A wee bit of a rain shadow effect. Brookings, Oregon is the “Chetco Effect”. Close to the big prison, Pelican Bay, and the state line liquor store😜 Hum, hard to say, even tho this is the far reaches of my bioregion. All the best.

  10. Fiery Hunt

    You are absolutely correct.

    On the one hand we’ve got serial arsonist PG &E and on the other Gov. Newsome OUTLAWING the sale of internal combustion cars in 12 years.


    Like David above, born and raised here and have been planning to flee as soon as I can for the last 3 years.

  11. JBird4049

    I do not know if studying, planning, and then building the right infrastructure will save the state. I do know, that like with the Dutch, it was only such that allowed the state to do as well as it has. It is too bad that the increasing corruption and the unequal distribution wealth and incompetence it has created will not all us to even try.

    >>>So low-lying Bangladesh will be able to afford the same kind of flood defenses that the Dutch have today.”

    California has always had some corruption, but today, it has accumulated to such that it blocks all attempts; it is really unfortunate that only by reforming, probably in the same way as the American Wigs, the political system would allow the attempt to even happen, never mind succeed, but they want their gravy train to keep running as long as possible.

    I also want to note that the Dutch have the focus built over centuries while defending themselves from the sea to know that they must work together, at least on some things, or drown. This is not true of our current political economy being run by narcissistic greed heads.

  12. Wukchumni

    The X factor when talking bout Cali is of course the likelihood of a really big earthquake which is quite overdue, with a 7.8 likely to wreck a lot if its a shallow shake, much of the water infrastructure will be gone, meaning it doesn’t matter how much water is in the big reservoirs up north if it can’t be delivered.

    I saw the damage in Santa Monica just hours after a 6.7 hit and the Richter Scale (not Wolf’s graphs) exponentially goes up with each additional .1, imagine what a real temblor could do?

    When we left LA part of the reason was to get away from the quake zones which crisscross the City of Angles, you do not want to be there when the main event starts…

    Here’s what i’d do as far as saving water and lives, i’d construct giant underground reservoirs not far from major cities, and these would double as heat fallout shelters, for you’d empty out the water first from these as summer got going, think of the equivalent of a sports stadium like say Wembley, but underground.

    1. agent ranger smith

      Since we’re talking about California, could you make these shelters indestructible in the face of a super-earthquake? What if the “big one” happened when several million Californians were escaping the killer heat of a Death Valley Heat Wave in these shelters? Could the shelters be made to be ” big-one” proof?

      As to water storage, why not forcibly inject any storable water the state might have back into the underground aquifers? We already know that they work.

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