• A new study is warning of a massive flooding crisis looming in California
  • The effects of the megafloods will be amplified by climate change
  • Previously, California witnessed the Great Flood of 1862

Climate change is increasing the risk of rare megafloods in the state of California that could result in the immersion of several cities and displacement of millions of people, a new study released Friday revealed.

Localized spots are expected to get under 100 inches of water in the extreme month-long storm, multiple outlets reported.

"We know that eventually it will happen and that climate change is upping the odds," said Dr Daniel Swain, one of the authors of the study "ArkStorm 2.0." "Societally, from a public policy and climate adaptation infrastructure building perspective, we are falling behind."

The researchers used a combination of climate and high-resolution weather models to compare two separate frameworks: the present danger and the future in which the degree of risk is higher due to climate crisis. This approach helped the researchers in obtaining a clear picture of what is coming.

"In the future scenario, the storm sequence is bigger in almost every respect," added Dr Swain, a climate scientist at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Swain further pointed out that such extreme statewide floods have taken place in California every century or two over the past millennia and each degree of global warming is surging the possibility and size of the upcoming event, being referred as "other Big One."

The storm can be similar to the Great Flood of 1862, the study suggested.

The flood is estimated to result in a $1 trillion disaster, according to a news release. At the same time, it would not be possible to evacuate 5 to 10 million people impacted by the megaflood.

Researchers suggest that California's floods vary from other parts of the world as they caused by atmospheric rivers.

"Atmospheric river storms in a warming climate are likely going to shift from being primarily beneficial to primarily hazardous – that's a big shift," Dr Swain added.

The scientists are currently working to get ahead of the curve as the risk of megaflood lingers on the state.

Meanwhile, researchers have collaborated with the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance preparations to respond to the event.

A thunderstorm
Representation. A storm dropped up to 4.5 inches of rainfall in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland, causing floods in the region. Nordseher/Pixabay