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Handicapping "El Nino" - {Sponsored Post}

Aug 10, 2015 04:47PM ● Published by Brenna McGowan

Do you remember the winter of 1997-98?  That was the last time we have a strong El Nino.  The weather was incredibly wild all over the country.  In California, we got record amounts of rain. San Francisco got 14.89 inches of rain during February breaking a record set in 1878.  It “could” happen again.  There are recent reports that the Pacific Ocean is heating up and scientists are predicting a very strong, perhaps record breaking El Nino: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/techrpts/tr9802/tr9802.pdf

Incredibly, neither the 1878 nor the 1998 storms were the big one. That happened during the winter of 1861-62.  In 1861 California was suffering through an extended drought.  Sound familiar?  Farmers were praying for rain.  Perhaps they prayed a little too much.

In December 1861 a winter storm developed that lasted 43 days.  Even Noah was impressed.  So how much rain did California get that winter?  Los Angeles, that city built in a desert, got sixty-six inches of rain.  Then there were the wet locations, like Sacramento, which got a lot of rain. The Governor of California, Leland Sanford. had to take a rowboat to the capital to take the oath of office. When he was rowed back home, he had to enter his house through a second story window.  Nice!

No one remembers a storm like this, because none of us were alive the last time it happened.  Geologists tell us these kind of storms hit California about once every 100 to 200 years.  It’s been 147 years since the last big one.  Hmmmm.

The odds of flood damage in any one year, including this year, are very low, probably about 1 in 150.  That is why major floods seem to always catch everyone by surprise.  How many times have you seen a TV reporter standing in front of what used to be a house with a befuddled homeowner saying:  “I never thought this could happen to me.”  That’s the problem.  If you get this wrong it is a very expensive mistake.

Sacramento has a very high flood risk, perhaps the highest in the country.  This area consists of a huge valley surrounded by high mountain ranges. In other words we live in a big bowl that can fill up with water. It has happened before. It will happen again. We just don’t know when.  Flood insurance is cheap. Most years you don’t need it. That’s why they call it insurance.

For more information, please visit:

TD McNeil Insurance Services - Folsom CA

T.D. McNeil Insurance Services - Folsom, CA

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