California is in the midst of a flood
California is currently experiencing rainfall in certain parts of the state, which is up to 200 per cent more than the average precipitation.
The south western US state has just suffered a prolonged drought, but the heavy rainfall has actually seen drought-affected areas drop by 22 per cent in just a single week.
The strong rainfall in the usually scorching California is nothing new, however, with experts claiming that widespread flooding throughout the state occurs every 100 to 200 years.
US Geological Survey hydrologist, Michael Dettingeris, and paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram from the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in a 2013 article for the Scientific American: "Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California about every 200 years. The most recent was in 1861, and it bankrupted the state.
Rainfall is up to 200 per cent more than the average precipitation in California
"It has now been 150 years since that calamity, so it appears that California may be due for another episode soon.”
The last time a massive flood occurred in California was the Great Flood of 1861 to 1862.
An illustration of the Great Flood from the magazine The Illustrated London News, March 2
Such was the flooding that Sacramento was submerged for six months following record breaking snow and rainfall.
The flooding today has not reached such heights, but at least eight people have died and hundreds evacuated, experts believe that it could well be on its way.
At least eight people have died and hundreds evacuated in California due to flooding
Dettingeris and Ingram added: “Climate scientists now hypothesise 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.”
Atmospheric rivers can see as much as 15 times the amount of water suspended in the atmosphere in the form of vapour.
Devastating pictures show San Jose, California underwater in latest flooding disaster
Wed, February 22, 2017
Dramatic pictures as people are rescued from an over-flowing creek that has flooded the San Jose area.
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Vehicles are seen partially submerged in flood water at William Street Park after heavy rains overflowed nearby Coyote Creek in San Jose
In the last week, scientists have said that these might be responsible for the California floods, and they are getting stronger.
Jeff Zimmerman from the US National Weather Service told NPR: "This has been a very active winter, atmospheric river-wise.
"We've probably had 10 or more… this winter."