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Feb 19 / Dave Schumaker

The Next New Orleans – Northern California

The next Katrina / New Orleans type of disaster may be along the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers that flow through Northern California, according to Dr. Jeffrey Mount of UC Davis.

He said one of the frequent earthquakes in California could destroy the levee system that has been built up since the middle of the 19th century, sending flood water over a wide area. Mount said it could have a similar impact to the Asian tsunami in 2004.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin delta takes more than 40 percent of California’s rainfall and covers some 280,000 hectares (700,000 acres). It is the main source of water for about 23 million people, of California’s 34 million population. But most of the land is below sea level and is protected by more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of levees.

The chance of a M6.7 or greater earthquake striking the San Francisco Bay Area in the next 25 years is roughly 62% according to the USGS.

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