Scientists are now warning Californians that the long-awaited ‘big one’ earthquake could be the least of their environmental concerns.
Another more deadly threat awaits the West coast of America – in the form of a biblical ‘ARkStorm’, which could bring death and destruction on a scale never before seen.
Walls of water 10ft high, rain falling in feet instead of inches, and nine million people’s homes flooded during a hurricane-like megastorm that could last more than month.
The every-other-century event last happened in 1861 and left the central valley of California impassable.
The cost was impossible to quantify – but should a similar event happen today the damage could total more than $300billion.
The U.S. Geological Survey has now begun planning for the return of the ARkStorm, so named after the boat Noah used to escape the flood in the Bible. The capped-up ‘A’ and ‘R’ stand for ‘atmospheric river’.
They have recruited 17 researchers and a string of agencies to work with local emergency crews and government officials across California to ensure that should it arrive, they would be best prepared for it.
The team says that a storm on the scale of that which struck in 1861 is ‘inevitable’ and it was widely considered the worst and longest on record.