A deluge of torrential rains dubbed by scientists as an "atmospheric river" has flooded California. The rains have interrupted travel, drenched southern sections of California for 6 days, and have caused officials to issue a state of emergency. The rains have triggered mudslides, thunderstorms, and tornado warnings. Meteorologists have likened the rains and resulting flooding to a 1861-1862 weather system which dumped 45 consecutive days of rain on the state and bankrupted state funds.
Lucy Jones, of the U.S. Geological Survey office located within Pasadena, California offered to MSNBC: "The atmospheric river brings in the moisture. How much rain gets dropped out of it has a distribution, just like earthquakes." Jones and a group from the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project devised a computer model known as the "Ark Storm" to discern the potential damages from the rains. Jones concluded "The storm would cost about four times as much as the shakeout earthquake."
Though the likelihood of a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions due to the rains is extremely uncommon and only occur every 200 years, the state has taken measures to be prepared.