California’s Central Valley is no stranger to extreme weather events, especially floods. Its bowl shape and connection to the heavy snow and rain in the Sierra Nevada mean flooding remains a constant threat. The state and the federal governments have spent the last 150 years battling “the Inland Sea,” that is the Central Valley. This anniversary year of the Great Flood of 1862 offers the opportunity to review the lessons from California’s past responses to extreme flood events. With climate change threatening more rain and less snow, states relying on mountain snowpack may learn from how California has responded to flood risks and changed its flood policy to prepare for greater risks of extreme floods in the years ahead.
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