SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Even as California struggles to cope with a long-running drought, scientists are worried that the San Francisco Bay Area is unprepared for an inevitable super storm that could drop 12 inches of rain in a week.
The nonprofit Bay Area Council says the storm that occurs every 150 years could cause $10.4 billion in economic damage, the San Mateo County Times reporte.
The report by the council says the flood would be concentrated in Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara, affecting 355,000 residents and $46.2 billion in assets.
“The drought is a function of extreme weather, but it’s only one side of the coin, and we know what’s coming next,” said Adrian Covert, policy director for the council.
City officials in San Mateo and San Jose agreed with the study’s conclusions and said preparedness is key when it comes to natural disasters.
San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said in a statement, “If ever there was a case where ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ this is it.”
The report does not factor in predicted sea-level rise, which would make extreme storms even more dangerous. The ocean off California is expected to rise by as much as 24 inches by 2050, according to the council.