Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Flood 1997 Marker

I saw these painted markers on the way to Seide Valley today. The painting for 1997 was about 8 feet above the highway, the 2005 marker only a couple of feet above the road. I had to search for the "rest of the story"...

New Year's Day 1997: Northern California flood

A series of tropical storms collectively called a pineapple connection hit northern California from late December 1996 to early January 1997.[1] December 1996 was one of the wettest Decembers on record.[1] The Klamath River on California's North Coast experienced significant flooding which led to the river permanently changing course in some areas.[6] The Klamath National Forest experienced its worst flood since 1974.[6] Unprecedented flows from rain surged into the Feather River basin while melted snow surged into the San Joaquin River basin.[6] Rain fell at elevations up to 11,000 feet (3,400 m), prompting snow melt.[6][1] The Cosumnes River, a tributary to the San Joaquin River, bore the brunt of the flooding.[6] Sacramento was spared, though levee failures flooded Olivehurst, Arboga, Wilton, Manteca, and Modesto.[7] Massive landslides in the Eldorado National Forest east of Sacramento closed Highway 50.[6] Damages totaled US$35 million (1997 dollars).[6]

Watersheds in the Sierra Nevada were already saturated by the time three subtropical storms added more than 30 inches (760 mm) of rain in late December 1996 and early January 1997. [1] Levee failures due to breaks or over topping in the Sacramento River Basin resulted in extensive damages.[1] In the San Joaquin River Basin, dozens of levees failed throughout the river system and produced widespread flooding.[1] The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta also experienced several levee breaks and levee over topping.[1] 48 counties were declared disaster areas, including all 46 counties in northern California.[1] Over 23,000 homes and businesses, agricultural lands, bridges, roads and flood management infrastructures – valued at about $2 billion – were damaged. Nine people were killed and 120,000 people were evacuated from their homes.[1] 300 square miles (780 km2) were flooded, including the Yosemite Valley, which flooded for the first time since 1861-62.[1]


1."Historic Rainstorms in California". California Department of Water Resources. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
2."1986 Flood Disaster". Retrieved 2007-10-22.
3."Summary of Significant Floods in the United States, 1986". U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Kansas Water Science Center. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
5."1986 Flood Victims To Get Millions". KCRA 3. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
6.Aftermath of the 1997 Flood: Summary of a Workshop
7."Sacramento Flood Risk". Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA). Retrieved 2007-10-22.