California Extreme Super Flood

Can It Happen Again?

And what was it anyway?

I figured I’d get a jump on the inevitable stories to come about how this is extreme weather and therefor caused by Global Warming!!!

(We really need a sound effect whenever AGW is mentioned, like in Young Frankenstein when the horses would always sound off at Frau Blucher being mentioned. Perhaps thunder or a ‘dun duun Dun DUUNNN’ on the piano… )

At any rate, we’re going to get rain. LOTS of rain. I’m on the lower edge of it, so hopefully will just get modest rain. Crosspatch in T8 deserves a h/t for the pointer.

Really, though, this has happened before. Far worse has happened before. There was something called The Great Flood of 1861, it was a whopper. There is a free complete book about it that you can download here:

http://cepsym.info/history/LakeSacramento_book.pdf

Nice comparison charts and pictures and all. Down at the bottom there are some colored charts, about Figure 10 to 12, that have impressive impact. Showing things like the average flow at Marysville and Smartville for representative groups of days for various historical flood events.

There are many shorter descriptions, and even a wiki about it.

http://cepsym.info/history.php

December 1861 and January 1862 Floods

The Sacramento Valley experienced four floods from December 1861 through January 1862. These floods are legendary in newspaper accounts from the time. The historic descriptions and pictures from these floods continue to hold fascination today. Can these floods happen again? This is the question covered in “Lake Sacramento” — Can It Happen Again? [PDF*, 8MB] by Leon Hunsaker with Claude Curran (2005).

The authors’ approach to answering this question was to research the available historical data. After conducting field trips to libraries, newspaper offices, historical societies, and various public and private sources, Hunsaker and Curran concluded “… a realistic assessment of the runoff potential can be made for each December 1861-January 1862 flood event.” (p. 2) Their publication describes their journey, what they found, how they used the data, and their conclusions.
Estimate of American River Peak Flow on January 10, 1862

In 2005 Leon Hunsaker and Claude Curran completed their book, “Lake Sacramento” — Can It Happen Again? They decided to continue their look into the historic 1862 flood.

“During the summer of 2006, we decided if our results were going to be conclusive we needed to demonstrate numerically that the flood peaks of January 1862 were greater than any that occurred in the 20th century. We chose the American River because of its early history of flooding the city of Sacramento. Then it was decided that a peak flow estimate would be made for January 10, 1862 at Folsom — the recognized date of the all-time record high flow on the American River at Folsom (Fair Oaks).”
They chronicle their reasoning behind estimating the American River peak flow on January 10, 1862 in Step by Step Development of Peak Flow Estimate on the American River @ Folsom for Record Flood: 1/10/1862 [PDF*, 273KB] (2011).

Now that date seemed kind of familiar to me. So I looked up a chart:

Solar Angular Momentum variation

Solar Angular Momentum variation

Hmmm…. comes right at one of those Sleepy Sun solar angular momentum times… After the Dalton Minimum, but with a modest ‘kink’ in the graph and a green arrow. Also of note is that in the ‘book’ above, the graph shows 1964 as a big flood year too, and it has a ‘kink’ in the solar graph just starting. (In fairness, we’ve had other floods in years without kinks too).

But that’s sort of the point. California gets drenching flood causing rains. 1907 and 1909, then 1955 and 1964 (which I remember), followed by 1986 and 1997.

In 1952 the snow was so deep that a train got stranded and buried in it.

Donner Pass was named for the Donner Party that got whacked by an extremely heavy snow about 100 years earlier… It happens…

A few year later there was another heavy snow and it was about 18 feet deep along the highway. My Dad drove us up in a 56 Chevy to look at it. It was amazing. Snow WAY over the car, driving in a deep trench. Every year I’ve gone back I’ve remembered that drive, and wondered when that snow would return again. IMHO, we’ve got a chance at it now. The PDO has swapped and we’re back in the ‘Early 1950s pattern’. So I’m hoping to finally ‘scratch that itch’ and get to see 18 foot of snow above the road again ;-) Though maybe over the TV this time, warm tea in hand…

Also in that prior article is an interesting ‘summary’ of even earlier conditions:

Rainfall and Stream Run-off (1769-1931)

Rainfall and stream run-off data from California’s Spanish Mission period, beginning in May 1769, through 1930, the date this was written, are analyzed in Rainfall and Stream Run-off in Southern California Since 1769 [PDF*, 9.2MB] by H. B. Lynch (1931). The data apply to Southern California. Ten conclusions are reached (summarized and paraphrased here):

There had been no material change in the mean climatic conditions for 162 years
The 40 years from 1890-1930 had fewer fluctuations from average conditions than did earlier years
A 28-year drought ending in 1810 was about as severe as, and more protracted than, the drought occurring when this paper was written
Both 1810-21 and 1883-93 had rainfall surpluses more intense than 1890-1930
Rainfall deficiency from about 1822 to 1832 was more severe than anything experienced up to 1930
The longest rainfall deficiency occurred from 1842 to 1883, though it was not as acute as other periods
The drought occurring when this paper was written (1930) could not be considered a major shortage
Water yield of the areas under consideration closely approximates run-off from principal streams
Run-off fluctuations generally track rainfall fluctuations, but are larger
Useful water yield for Southern California has been 50% of average for a period of ten years, and 70% for a period of 28 years (within the dates studied)

This paper may be useful for students of historical water yield in California.

I’m especially interested in that “28 year drought”. Can you imagine the hysterics if we had a 28 year drought NOW? Worse even that the drought in 1930?

But back at The Great Flood

Was this Great Flood just a local thing? Some added water in Marysville rushing down to “Lake Sacramento”? Nope.

http://www.hbsurfcity.com/history/floodhis.htm

1861-62

The flood of 1861-62 has been called the “great Flood” and the Noachian deluge of California Floods.” Beginning on December 24, 1861, it rained for almost four weeks but for two brief interruptions. (Friis 52)

In San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties, the Santa Ana River became a raging torrent during the flood of 1862. The prosperous colonies along the banks of the river were completely inundated, and vineyards, orchards, and grain fields became a barren waste. (OC Flood Control District)

Storms in 1862 accounted for a peak flow of 320,000 cubic feet per second in the upper river and created an inland sea in Orange County. Lasting about three weeks with water standing four feet deep up to four miles from the river, this disaster almost equaled a 200-year or worst possible flood. (City of Huntington Beach Flood Study 1974)

For those who might not know, Sacramento and Marysville are in Northern California, while Huntington Beach, San Bernardino, Riverside, etc are all down not far from Los Angeles in Southern California.

California is rather like Australia in that we can have many years of being a dry desert, then be under a few feet of water after torrential rains. (When not burning in brush fires or having landslides moving mountains… or the earthquakes rearranging things… Great place to live if you have “boredom issues” ;-)

There are many more SoCal floods listed in that link.

For completion, here’s the wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floods_in_California

Just to note that the L.A. flood history is a bit more complete than the Sacramento. It only ‘got rolling’ after gold was found in 1849, but L.A. was an old city by then. (San Jose, near San Francisco, was founded in 1777 and Los Angeles was about the same at 1781 for the formal founding) So we have a record of what happened during the Dalton, then.

Los Angeles Flood of 1825

Changed the course of the Los Angeles River from its western outlet into Santa Monica Bay following the course of Ballona Creek to a southern outlet at San Pedro Bay near where it is today.

You have likely seen the Los Angeles River. It is that large concrete trench that has had many chase scenes filmed in it, with a small dribble of water in the bottom. “Terminator” has a nice ‘crash bang’ chase in it, for example. During major floods all that empty becomes water… but due to the concrete it no longer ‘wanders around’ as much ;-)

December 1861 – January 1862: California’s Great Flood

Beginning on December 24, 1861, and lasting for 45 days, the largest flood in California’s recorded history was created, reaching full flood stage in different areas between January 9–12, 1862. The entire Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys were inundated for an extent of 300 miles (480 km), averaging 20 miles (32 km) in breadth. State government was forced to relocate from the capital in Sacramento for 18 months in San Francisco. The rain created an inland sea in Orange County, lasting about three weeks with water standing 4 feet (1.2 m) deep up to 4 miles (6 km) from the river. The Los Angeles basin was flooded from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, at variable depths, excluding the higher lands which became islands until the waters receded. The Los Angeles basin lost 200,000 cattle by way of drowning, as well as homes, ranches, farm crops & vineyards being swept-away.

And it rained for 40 days and 40 nights… oh, wait, 45 days…

Can you imagine if the State Capital had to relocate to San Francisco for a year and a half NOW? (Maybe drowning the Capital is not such a bad idea… at least they would stop spending money they don’t have…)

While it is unlikely to be as bad, since we now have loads of damns on the major rivers, it will tend to depend on how full they are when the rains come, then don’t leave for a few months.

Some folks even like to reference Noah when they talk about this flood. WUWT points out it was followed by a humdinger of a drought:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/17/after-the-noachian-floods-in-1861-california-experienced-a-punishing-drought/

Guest post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue (using my AB History from Michigan)

The catastrophe modeling of the USGS extrapolates current damage$ based upon the scenario of the California floods of 1861-1862. Quoting directly from the Southern California quarterly Volume 1 (1884) [Google Books is awesome]: “During the months of December, 1861, and January, 1862, according to a record kept at San Francisco, 35 inches of rain fell, and the fall for the season footed up nearly 50 inches.”

For folks in England that 50 inches may not sound like much, but realize two things:

1) It comes in a monsoonal pattern – all in a drench – not spread out over nearly every day of the year as in the UK.

2) In more normal years we may get 5 inches to 11 inches all year.

So getting all that in one go is something the land is just not going to take well. Small creeks become rivers and ponds turn into lakes. Then it all drys up again…

In Conclusion

This storm will be a big one. We will get a LOT of rain. Yet rather like that perfectly NORMAL storm now called “SuperStorm Sandy” (that was weaker than the real hurricanes of the 1950s and 1800s that hit the same places); this perfectly normal rain will likely be called “super” or extreme or catastrophic or ANYTHING hysterical. Anything, that is, except to call it exactly what it is. Perfectly normal.

I’ve lived through the floods of 1955 and 1964, marveling at them. In one, the bridge over the Feather River near my home town washed out. We went out to watch it being rebuilt and look at the river about 3 feet below overtopping the banks. That kind of thing leaves an impression on young minds.

But more than that…

My home town had very high curbs. Built with a ‘step’ in them. The town was raised about 2 feet so that the floods, when they came, just stayed in the streets and not in the buildings. Every home was on a tiny rise. Didn’t happen often, but the town knew they would eventually come again. It was after some flood in the 1800s that the town was ‘raised up’. Don’t know how late, but there were metal rings in the downtown sections of curb to tie up your horse. So “It’s flooded before”.

http://www.safca.org/history.html

1861-
1862
December 9, 1861 – American River Levee failed east of 30th street, flooding what is now known as River Park. The water then overran the City’s levee built to protect it. To relieve the building water levels, the levee at R & 5th Streets was cut to drain the “lake” but houses were swept away in the current in the cut in the levee.

January 10, 1862 – Due to flooding, newly elected Governor Leland Stanford had to travel to his inauguration at the Capital in a rowboat.

1862-
1872
Sacramento Streets Raised: In response to floods of 1861-1862, streets east of the Sacramento River to about 12th Street were raised as much as 14 feet.

So unless Governor Moonbeam is commuting to work in a Row Boat and folks are talking about adding a dozen feet of fill in the low spots, well, it’s just not anything new, or unusual, or extreme. It’s just normal life in California…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to California Extreme Super Flood

  1. omanuel says:

    The truth is just this, and nothing less: Society has been on a path to self destruction for sixty-seven years.

    World leaders formed the United Nations [1] on 24 Oct 1945 to save themselves and society from the threat of destruction by the powerful force [2] revealed in the evaporation of Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 .

    Nuclear and space age measurements showed that the same force [2] in the core of the Sun made our elements, birthed the world ~5 Gyr ago, sustained the origin of life ~3.5 Gyr ago, and successful evolution into some creatures that are now capable of self-governance [3].

    Those creatures deserved, but were not allowed, to chose -
    _ a.) The Constitutional government of Jefferson [3] or
    _ b.) The one-world government of the United Nations [1]

    As noted here, hiding or sugar-coating reality threatens the very survival of society.

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1807

    [1] The United Nations, “Core Agenda 21″, http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

    [2] Oliver K. Manuel, “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://tinyurl.com/7t5ojrn

    [3] Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers,
    The US Declaration of Independence: http://tinyurl.com/5yr32
    The US Constitution: http://tinyurl.com/yqm97q and
    The US Bill of Rights: http://tinyurl.com/dugh9

  2. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: Not too soon, there is much more ahead, we have to wait until the next super Carrington Event (february or march, perhaps):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    In any way there will be enough water down….after falling from the “fiscal cliff” :-)

  4. kramer says:

    Speaking of those 1861-1862 floods:

    Scientists Cite “Atmospheric River” for Near Continuous Rain
    It has happened before. Consider the winter of 1861-1862 — it rained for 45 consecutive days

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Scientists-cite-Atmospheric-River-for-Near-Continuous-Rain-112228904.html?dr

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    I too remember the 1950s Sierra snows and the 1955 flood. My father provided all the mail service up from Sacramento to Kirkwood Meadows and we lived in Rio Linda just north of Sacramento. In the 55 flood the water level in the Natomas Basin was within 4 feet of the top of the railroad tracks on the top of the levee west of town. Every spring the snow accumulation in the central Sierra was 6 to 20 feet deep of hard pack snow and it took until late June to open the highway to Kirkwood Meadows every spring. pg

  6. crosspatch says:

    There was another flood down the Eel River in the 1950′s sometime, can’t remember the date, exactly. Washed out the now-abandoned portion of “the skunk train” Northeast of Willits.

  7. Steve C says:

    “For folks in England that 50 inches may not sound like much” – ha, no, even to us that sounds like a pretty respectable day’s soaking. You get the “Atmospheric River”, we just have a sort of picturesque “Atmospheric Stream”. There’s an old joke in a lot of places over here: “You see them hills over there? If you can see them ‘ills, that means it’s going to rain. If you can’t see ‘em, that means it is raining.”

    Interesting (though not entirely surprising) to note that the dates quoted above for your drenchings correlate pretty well with ours, though – we’ve had flooding this year, then going back, early ’50s, late 19th century … that ol’ 60-year cycle’s going to keep on coming back and coming back until not even “climatologists” can ignore it any longer. (It doesn’t help our cause that we’ve built so much on land once known by names like river meadow and flood plain, of course.)

    For that AGW sound effect, my vote goes to the opening three chords of Richard Strauss’s “Elektra”. They have a fine “doomy” sound – quite appropriate, really, given what’s about to happen in the rest of the opera.

  8. Ed Forbes says:

    One small problem today with flows of the madnitude seen in the higher higher historical stream flows.

    The levy system in the delta at Stockton and Sacramento are in worse shape than those around New Orleans were for it’s flood. Houses in this area look UP at the river. If these levees fail, loses in property and lives will make the New Orleans flood look like a walk in park.

  9. dearieme says:

    Not much of England averages 50″. London is drier than Paris, Cambridge than Barcelona. Or so they say in London and Cambridge.

  10. BobN says:

    It seems like every other year the Russian River in California floods and the people rebuild with insurance money. I’m betting this will be one of the worst areas and will once again rebuild on the same locations, thanks to federal flood insurance.
    This may be a good chance to check out the survival provisions!

  11. John Robertson says:

    3 come to mind for the theme music, ding dong the witch is dead, from wizard of ozz. Tiny Tims chorus, the ice caps are melting @ they’r coming to take me away a-ha, Ludwig something, did the dead skunk song I think. Bruno Bozzetto probably has exactly what we need with a cartoon to suit. But that weird note Tiny Tim hits at wash away the Sin bit, is right on target

  12. Pingback: pre-empting the scaremongers … | pindanpost

  13. crosspatch says:

    This is a picture of a bridge that was being rebuilt over the Eel river in Mendocino County after the 1964 flood. Notice how far down in the valley the river is. The water was so high, it not only took out the bridge, but water flowed through the tunnel you see on the far side into the next valley.

    http://mendonews.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/high-waters-the-floods-of-1955-and-1964.jpg

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; the link to “Lake Sacramento” was a great read. pg

  15. R. de Haan says:

    Best time to look for gold is after a big flood. Timing is everything and when you hit the right spot, it could make yourich: http://starstream.hubpages.com/hub/Gold-Find

  16. crosspatch says:

    Sacramento has flooded many times, most infamously in 1862, when a 45-day rain turned the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys into vast inland seas. Gov. Leland Stanford attended his inauguration by rowboat, and the state capital was temporarily moved to San Francisco. It was the largest deluge in state history, though geologic records indicate that six other powerful storms swamped the region before then. The chance of a megaflood inundating Sacramento again is not only plausible, predicts the U.S. Geological Survey, but “perhaps inevitable.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/magazine/sacramento-levees-pose-risk-to-california-and-the-country.html

    I think I recall voting at least twice since 1996 to approve bond measures to fix those levees but both times they absorbed the money into the general fund.

  17. Espen says:

    How about January 1973? My first visit to the US, 11 years old. I recall there were houses destroyed in mudslides and some streets only accessible by boat in some Marin County towns.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, the “Atmospheric River” is definitely here. Not dramatically heavy, just unending… Normally in California we get our rain in surges. Some band of clouds goes over, it rains, then it ends. Repeated at various intervals from hours to decades (droughts can be punctuated by an occasional rain band) and varying by location (much more in the Mountains, much less in the Mojave). This rain moved in, and it has just steadily increased.

    So it’s been like this for a couple of days now. Steady modest rain. There are supposedly 3 or 4 more such systems parked off shore, lining up the way they sometimes do, each taking a position to arrive just behind the other. So we’ve got “a while” more of this already in the queue.

    I have a tub on the patio where I usually put those potted plants that need steady watering. I just had to pull two large pots out of it as they were being over topped by the water. About 12 inches of it. (Not all from this storm. About 5 or 6 had accumulated from prior storms). What makes this “special” is that I’ve not had to do that, nor dump the tub, in years. The consumption by the plants and evaporation would typically keep it below 6 inches.

    It’s been raining steadily since I did that, late yesterday.

    It will be raining for the next several days.

    Sigh.

    Almost enough to make me want the old “Days Of Drought” back… At least they were warm and dry…

    At any rate, I think I need a ‘good morning’ cup of tea and a bit of time under the UV lamp ( Zilla 50 – a 20 Watt CFL “Lizard Lamp” placarded to ~”Don’t even think about using this for people” that does a nice job of fixing Vit-D shortage, S.A.D., and generally driving away the “winter funk” with about 10 minutes shining on the back…)

    @Adolfo:

    The “Fiscal Cliff” is more like a “spending speedbump”. Doesn’t really do much at all.

    We have seen, I think, that a ‘quiet sun’ gives more CMEs. I’m expecting we’ll get such an event, but it’s not clear how often the earth is in the right orbital position to be in the line of fire. It won’t be as bad as hyped, though. LOADS of stuff will not really notice. (Anyone in lightning country already has ‘surge protectors’ on their electronics).

    @Kramer:

    Well, were in the “river” now! ;-)

    Wonder where I can get a ‘sky canoe’…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Glad you liked the ‘book’. I think it’s a pretty good write up too.

    Ah, you triggered a memory… Kirkwood was always known as the late to open Ski Resort that kept running well into summer. Then in the ’80s it became more ‘mid season’… Wonder if a record of ‘opening date’ for Kirkwood would be interesting…. Might have to adjust for better snow ploughs and different schedules now…

    Rio Linda, eh? I was about 15 miles north of Marysville. Remember the flooding of Oliverhurst near there? Elevation of My Home Town was about 32 feet. It is 200 miles to the ocean. Not a whole lot of gradient for drainage ;-)

    @Crosspatch:

    Oh yes! The coastal area had more flooding then too. Forgot about that… When the water starts coming in, we tend to flood everywhere from the coast range, to the central valley, then huge snows in the mountains where a fast spring melt can cause a second flood. Now that Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville exist, the spring melt floods are pretty much gone, and a lot of the winter flooding too (unless they hold too much water in the lakes out of drought paranoia…)

    @Steve C.:

    My Mum went back to England after being gone for 18 years. (One of the early jets and they managed to set a speed record… picked up a tail wind and skipped the normal mandatory refueling at Greenland IIRC. A BOAC flight from California when I was a kid…) She went in late June / Early July. It rained… Along with being disappointed at the ‘locals’ calling her (and her Sister who was living in New Jersey) ‘The Yanks’… seems she lost some of her accent… they had the joke about the rain. Seems it stopped raining on July 2 and 3 (or some such) then started again. Folks said “Nice you could make it for Summer! That was Tuesday!”…
    ;-)

    I think it’s just being near warmer water. It would rain just about every day in Florida. For a couple of hours mid afternoon. Kept things watered and fresh. Wasn’t oppressive at all. At least, that’s the fantasy I like to hold for the UK and Ireland ;-)

    On the “sound”, I was thinking more of a 2 second sound marker than a theme song… though maybe we need both ;-)

    IIRC, the AMO typically shifts about 10 years after the PDO, so there might be a 5 – 10 year ‘offset’ in the flood dates here / there (and if found, would be interesting evidence of cycle driven events).

    @Dearime:

    Ok, ok, so I was being a bit “colorful”… ;-)

    While this map doesn’t go quite up to the UK, it’s pretty clear that “it is wet up there”
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=TRMM_3B43M
    while being much dryer in California… Yes, I could have used “Orlando” instead, but not the same stereotype ;-)

    The ‘cloud fraction’ map shows plenty of continuation of the cloud cover up to the UK, so one presumes the rains go with them:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MODAL2_M_CLD_FR

    (As if the difference between 40 inches and 50 inches really matters much … )

    @BobN:

    When I was a kid, only idiots built close to the rivers (especially the Russian, but the same thing going on with other rivers). Then we got government subsidized flood insurance and all sorts of folks rushed out to build ‘dream cabins’ with ‘waterfront property’…

    Now we get loads of “catastrophe film” on the news due to “climate change” that is really “Stupid Government Subsidy Change”…

    @Ed Forbes:

    Every couple of years one of the “islands” in the delta floods when the levee breaks. Folks forget that those “islands” were delta bottom that had a levee built around it and then was pumped out for farming…

    One of the strangest sights I’ve seen was, while fishing the delta, looking over and seeing a pretty big ship cruising by through the corn field… It was in the shipping channel… that is about a dozen feet ABOVE dirt level… going to The Port of Stockton I think.

    So you look over, and it’s all dirt and crops, then a dirt levee that just looks like a bit of hill, and then this ship is cruising past looking down on you… Never felt so “Dutch” ;-)

    How bad are the levees? I don’t really know. But I’ve driven on top of a lot of them. Always looked pretty much the same, year over year. Don’t want any muskrats making burrows in them (below water level – kind of like an ugly beaver with a smaller tail) but I suspect the notion of levees rotting away is a bit over done. And, frankly, don’t see why ANYONE outside the area (i.e. Feds and State) ought to pay for what the LOCALS built and benefit from. Why does it become a problem for ME, who chooses not to live next to a delta levy, such that I need to pay to do maintenance on it? The folks who own that “farm land” that THEY reclaimed from delta bottom ought to pay for what they chose to do…

    As late as the ’70s folks knew not to build houses in those places. Then the government subsidy driven “housing bubble” hit and we had folks building all over the “islands”. Stupid (though profitable in the short run for the builders and land sellers). I looked at those places when buying my first home (as they were cheaper than in Silicon Valley) and just shook my head…

    So no, I’m not really interested in subsidizing stupidity. Any you are right, it will be a heck of a mess. (THE ‘from hell’ scenario is a great quake just as we’re in mid-flood… shaking down the levies just enough for the water to wash them out…)

    @John Robertson:

    I could see a short cut of “There’ Coming to take me a way!!!” from about 1/2 way into it where the voice is getting a bit weird… It would have that curious effect and could be worked in with a pause at the moment when the speaker gets a momentary concerned look ;-)

    @Crosspatch:

    Spectacular picture. Folks forget those bridges are built up high like that for a reason… but even that one is higher than I’d thought was needed.

    We also had washouts along the Merced River in prior years that took out chunks of the road. IIRC Hwy 50 had some such washouts too. Not so much the last couple of decades; but I think that’s about to change ;-)

    On the levee money: Never vote to give the government more money ‘for a good cause’. The cause is just a poster child to get more goodies for their hidden agenda / pet projects / contributor requests…

    @R. de Haan:

    When I was growing up, there was a decent local small gold mining population still around in Oroville. I’ve panned gold (just a bit). They even have a local museum about the history of gold mining (with a replica of a giant ‘nugget’ about the size of a toaster that was found in the area).

    Grew up with the lore of things like “go panning after the floods, and be first”. Kind of forgot about it in the last few decades… thanks for the reminder.

    Yes, the floods stir up the deeper entrenched sediments and dig some of the deep gold out of the river bends, redistributing it. So old “panned out” areas get refreshed.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Nevada Daily Transcript ( Saturday Morning, Dec. 14,1861) Vol.3, No 89, pg3,col1:
    STORY OF AN OLD INDIAN: An old Indian says the late storm was but a “circumstance”compared with one that occurred within his memory, Many moons ago. “Heap, heap water come. Saclemento vally all-e-same big water. Kill heap Injun, heap deer, heap labbit-no tlee-mucha water” The old fellow says Injun don’t like to live in valley ever since. The Indian may have reference to the flood of 1827, when General Vallejo is said to have tied his launch to the top of one of the Sycamore trees on the site of Sacramento. The flood of 1827 is reported to have been vastly greater then any that had occurred since the settlement of the country by Americans down to to 1852. A paragraph from the book “LAKE SACRAMENTO”

    When I was very young my great grandparents said that when their grandparents came to the Fresno area to farm, 1830s, California was sometimes desert, sometimes swamp, often in the same year! pg

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    For those that weren’t paying attention the above article was written after the first of several flood crests that took place over 52 days during the winter of 1861-62! pg

  21. John Robertson says:

    Best part of modern floods is the idiot news anchor, telling us, Its unprecedented, biblical flooding, while the camera crew pans the camera over the anchors shoulder to a flood gauge which shows at least 3 higher , high water marks from the last 60 years.
    CBC did this for the Red River Floods of Manitoba couple of years ago, I guess the anchors are all nepotism rejects and the union crews have to put up with the idiots. Summed up the climate change caused it BS nicely.

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    Media people do tend to be in too great a rush to glory to actually learn a little about their subject. Generally as little as possible needed to make deadline. “If it bleeds it leads.” facts just get in the way of a good, short, story. Just puff it up and run with it. pg

  23. DocMartyn says:

    “John Robertson says:
    Best part of modern floods is the idiot news anchor, telling us, Its unprecedented, biblical flooding, while the camera crew pans the camera over the anchors shoulder to a flood gauge which shows at least 3 higher , high water marks from the last 60 years.”

    Why do they need a reporter standing outside in the rain, wading through calf-high through water, reporting on the weather?
    I suspect that the vast majority of people would believe that when a reporter sitting in a dry, warm studio shows a webcam of what is happening, without having a wet person standing there. We know that rain makes people wet, indeed, many of us worked this out long before we went to school.

  24. p.g.sharrow says:

    Well our mountains are now well primed and leaking water out of every pore. Flood waters are receding and the power back on, after 18hrs, 65mph gusts downed trees and electric lines. Quite a start to our rainy season. One more small storm this week and then we can rest for a week :-) I need to renew the battery bank and clean up the mess. NEXT! pg

  25. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: Well primed? .Have you seen what happens in front of NY ?: A strange HOT SPOT again…and as far as the Sun does not heat a particular place in special…something must be happening on the bottom of the ocean: (Edgard Cayce´s prediction?)
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif

  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; yes 4.2dC warmer then normal over the Grand Banks and 4dC colder off of …………..
    Peru? pg

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    There’s one of the WUWT-TV videos that shows an alternating hot spot between the Atlantic and Pacific that depends on the PDO / AMO relationship. Tisdale? I think? At any rate, one of the few put up in the last week or so.

    @Adolfo:

    Primed, as in ‘prime the pump’ so the next crank of the handle gives a load of flowing water…

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    We had power outage and lots of blowing stuff too. Couple of trees down in the area, but none here. Did find one ‘new sprout’ on the Bambusa Oldhami was high enough to get nervously close to the power lines… those shafts will pop up in a week sometimes… I’d have sworn I’d cut all the risky ones, and this one has no leaves yet, so is a new sprout. I don’t notice them until their above the base 20 foot or so, then they are going up a foot a day, it seems… Don’t look close for a week or three and, well… swaying in the wind just a couple of feet below the wire… So I’ve got a couple of days… maybe ;-)

    (So far they HAVE all stopped growing short of the wire… but they were supposed to stop several feet below the wire… so I’m one ‘ambitious sprout in the bunny poo’ away from ‘a problem’…)

    BTW, I need to do some more research into that 1827 flood… sounds like interesting history…

    @Doc Martyn:

    Just think of it as “reality TV” (that has nothing to do with ‘reality’ and everything to do with ‘artificial drama’…)

    BTW, on T8 is a link to some biomedical news you might find of interest. A nicotine like alkaloid that reduces inflammation and pains… along with some other stuff…

  28. p.g.sharrow says:

    I am working with cannabis roots for the same effect. Alkaloids and cannabinoid precursors seem to be the active ingredients(no THC or TBC),. I am trying to develop an extraction system that works for me. pg

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, did a “mixed alkaloids” test.

    Looks like it works. Lower level of discomfort from various joints. I’m now doing the “rebound / recover” phase. So that means I’m a bit “thick” today and thinking slowly. Also not very energetic. (Drugs let you move energy from one time to another, but don’t let you create more energy… so now I need to ‘pay the debt’…)

    So I suppose the next step is to come up with some kind of extraction / separation process. (Or just try the commercial stuff).

    Typical extractions depend on different solvents ( water, alcohol, acetone, hexane) or difference in pH (add HCl or NaOH in titer ) or difference in temperature (like alcohol from water in the freezer to make apple cider into apple jack…) or difference in electrical state (electrophoresis… so one could make “jello” with a plant juice extract then put an electric field across it and things move to different degrees.) and I’m sure there are others. Even things like selective oxidation and reduction. The CRC “Rubber Handbook” is your friend… there are also some nice web pages on differential alkaloid chemistry and extraction.

    Don’t know that I’ll get around to it any time soon. I’m already over committed. So on the “someday list”.

    Still it’s nice to be having a day where the joints are not bothering me. But I don’t think I could put up with the mental effects long term. (So hoping they are from different compounds and can be isolated. Then again, I was mixing two different kinds of plants, and their associated alkaloids, along with some caffeine ( coffee and tea ) so I would need to first try a simple ‘leave one at a time out’ and find which has the magic sauce… )

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    Gee… Looks like the periodic flooding is, er, periodic… And just about on a solar / planetary cycle…

    (Beware, it has popup ads…)

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=megastorms-could-down-massive-portions-of-california&WT.mc_id=SA_WR_20121205

    Was the 1861–62 flood a freak event? It appears not. New studies of sediment deposits in widespread locations indicate that cataclysmic floods of this magnitude have inundated California every two centuries or so for at least the past two millennia. The 1861–62 storms also pummeled the coastline from northern Mexico and southern California up to British Columbia, creating the worst floods in recorded history. Climate scientists now hypothesize that these floods, and others like them in several regions of the world, were caused by atmospheric rivers, a phenomenon you may have never heard of. And they think California, at least, is overdue for another one.

    I also note that after they say this has periodically happened all on its own, they have to put an AGW Homage at the bottom of the original article… Oh Well…

  31. Bill Mead says:

    My 1955 Yosemite flood story—
    *********************************************************************************

    FLOODING IN THE PARK!
    FLOODING IN YOSEMITE
    A very bad storm
    Some years ago I had a holiday break from college in
    northern California and was heading for home in southern
    California with a couple of friends. We were stopping in
    Yosemite for a nite on the way. As we drove to the park
    we saw the Merced River was pretty rough and wild. We
    got into the park for our nite’s rest. Turned out we were
    getting into a flood situation. One of the worst in years.
    We ended out spending 4 nites at the park instead of
    one. On that day we left for Fresno. But soon we were
    in a line of about 20 cars stopped at a break in the road.
    A Park Ranger came up to our car and said we could try
    to cross the damaged road since we had chains on—BUT
    we were on our own-they would not get us out. So we
    pulled out of line and approached the washed away part
    of the road. I slowed down and got on the left as much
    as I could. We slowly went down the first part and then
    shifted into second and gunned it and climbed the other
    side staying left and got out onto good solid road!
    Around the bend we stopped and removed the chains and
    went on south without any further problems. Thank God
    for that. Will never forget that trip!\
    **************************************************************************

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