Orange County's top 5 natural disastersApril 26th, 2010, 12:07 pm by Pat Brennan, O.C. Register science, environment editor
The same things that make Orange County a congenial place to live — a natural landscape rich in native plants and craggy beach coves and mountains — also leaves us prone to the occasional disaster.
Voracious wildfires take their toll, along with earthquakes. Storms that help carve coves into parts of the coast can also bring floods; before large-scale flood-control structures were put into place, the county was far more prone to devastating floods.
Such flooding, though still possible, would have to be on a truly massive scale now that the Seven Oaks Dam is in place at the headwaters of the Santa Ana River, Prado Dam is being raised to greater height, and more flood control armor has been built along the riverbed.
Taking all of them together, we came up with a list of Orange County's top five natural disasters:
- 1933: The Long Beach earthquake killed 60 people, four in Orange County, on March 10. The magnitude 6.3 quake reduced buildings to rubble and helped prompt state officials to toughen earthquake standards for school buildings. It occurred on the Newport-Inglewood fault off the Orange County coast.
- 1938: Though not as big as the 1862 flood that drowned an estimated 200,000 cattle, this Mar. 3 flood was the county's most destructive: at least 45 people were killed and 2,000 left homeless by water flowing as fast ast 100,000 cubic feet per second. The flood was a good argument for building Prado Dam, completed in 1941.
- 1990: On Feb. 7, an oil tanker called the American Trader ran over its own anchor off the Orange County coast; soon after, waves of oil washed ashore in Huntington Beach. Some 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the tanker, killing thousands of seabirds and delivering a body blow to the seaside economy. It resulted in about $27 million in lawsuit settlements.
- 1993: Laguna Beach erupted into flames on Oct. 27 as Santa Ana winds whipped a wildfire through the area. The fire destroyed 389 homes and burned 16,682 acres.
- 2007: From Oct. 21 to Nov. 8, the arson-caused Santiago Fire burned through the Santiago and Silverado Canyon areas, scorching about 28,400 acres, destroying 15 homes and injuring 16 people.Source: http://sciencedude.freedomblogging.com/
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