California: San Jose Worst Flooding 100 years


Sorry … the headline is too long.

Apparently, there has not been enough focus by the California government on flooding.

Apparently too much focus on the high speed rail.


Yes. Deferred maintenance? I live in the area and I believe that there should have been more preparation for heavy rainfall. No doubt I will be told I am an idiot and we can’t afford this.:shrug: But one of the drainage canals that flooded had small pipes to let the drained water pass under roads. Those things can plug up and can’t take a large amount of water. The Anderson Dam should have been rebuilt a couple of years ago. And heaven forbid they build a new dam and reservoir.

Where I am staying now it was flooded uphill of me and most of the intersections were closed but there were no news reports of that. I figure that could have happened only if the creek got plugged up uphill of me. Last I checked water ran downhill.

Okay, okay I will calm down. I need to go buy some rain boots.


I nominate you to head the Department of Sarcasm :rolleyes:

The situation in San Jose has been described as a once in a hundred years flood, but yes, I guess we should’ve been more vigilant.

Praying for those whose homes are now uninhabitable, or who have suffered any water damage :gopray:


Chief Sarcastist.

The problem with flooding is that there are no political photo-ops for the local pols, when someone is out there pulling out trash from a blocked drainage ditch.

Building a new reservoir is not as heartening as protecting six cute little minnows.

A while back there was an article discussing the whole concept of a “one hundred year” flood. Turns out that when a flood occurs every ten years, then it ain’t really a “one hundred year” flood.

And in California, they have these cyclical droughts and floods. About every ten years.

But no one keeps track of these cycles.

Newspapers are not interested: “ok, folks, we are in year nine, so brace yourselves.”

Local officials aren’t interested either.

Actually, it would make a pretty nifty high school science project. Keeping a “drought clock” … researching local newspapers as far back as they go … a hundred years or so and seeing when the previous droughts and floods occurred.

Where I live, I proposed it because I was there long enough to experience four distinct droughts. Everybody panicked all the time … but it was ten years … almost with clock-like precision.

Every once in a while, someone would propose building a reservoir as a resource, but the complaints were HUGE.

So, nothing was ever done. Way back, the local fathers were able to get some things done, but after about 1970, people just screamed and yelled and protested and rebelled and nothing was done after that. So the droughts hit and then the floods and everybody just ran in circles and screamed and shouted. But nothing actually got done. I was appointed by the town to a committee and we found the old analyses and said, “See! It’s a cycle.” But it is more fun to just run in circles and scream and shout.

Protesting is more fun.

Math and cycles is b-o-r-i-n-g.

Besides, it’s “just a bunch of numbers” … actual words from one of the protesters.

One of my friends was involved in design work to stop the Ohio River floods, but they were run out of town. So now they have the periodic floods.


So, I was on this committee and we would meet several nights a week and police cars would deliver volumes of data to our homes so we could study it prior to the next meeting.

[Ohhhhh, what are the police cars doing at Monte’s house?]

One day someone wrote a letter to the newspaper demanding and protesting … and the newspaper editor could not stand it.

The EDITOR herself wrote a response: "This story has been on the front page of every edition of this newspaper for six months. WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN???"


I agree that maintenance is not a glamour job, so it often gets overlooked, but your ten year example certainly does not apply to San Jose. The last time it flooded like this was in 1922. My mom lived in the Bay Area in the 1940s, and my sister lived there throughout the '70s and '80s. Neither of them can recall flooding like this ever happening there. It’s hard to get people fired up about allocating resources to maintenance when a threat does not seem imminent, although I agree wholeheartedly that maintenance cannot be ignored or constantly put on the back burner. I think we can and should do both: take on new projects and maintain our infrastructure :yup:.


The Guadalupe River has flooded downtown San Jose several times. A new flood control on the river was built in 2005. Other low lying areas have flooded including a small city outside of San Jose where I was living at the time. I won’t say where to protect my identity.

A couple years ago I was picking up kids at school and the street in front of the school was flooded. I assumed that the drain had been plugged up. Little things like that add up. There has been a rash of tree trimming in the last week too.


In Texas and in Australia, they discovered their drought was cyclical … it was a 50-year cycle.

This cyclicality, even if long term, or long periodicity, needs to be publicized.


Do you have a reference for Australian drought being in a 50yr cycle? All of Australia?


Somewhat related, This article has a link to a study examining a period of five centuries (Australia/NZ region) with possible swings between drought and flooding rains seasons, some lasting decades.


Check back in here:


Where in there, I cant find it. :innocent: That site seems to be opinion related?


That site is getting closer to it, linking the Southern Oscillation or IPO ( La Nina -El Nino) with our drought/flood cycles. Last time the drought broke here in 2009 to 2010 , my place flooded 5 times. We were in a small La Nina 2016. We flooded twice. It seems to be swinging between the two , and normal years every decade or so.

Everyone gets edgy as soon as sea surface temperatures start rising.


~60 year drought cycle:

In Australia, drought risk increases in positive phases of the IPO, yet few suitable … Because it is a ~60 year cycle the same 0.28 C is included in the … Reef coral cores drilled about 50+ years ago have been forgotten.

Very long, detailed article:

Drought in Australia is defined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as rainfall over a three-month period being in the lowest decile of what has been recorded for that region in the past.[1] This definition takes into account that drought is a relative term and rainfall deficiencies need to be compared to typical rainfall patterns including seasonal variations. Specifically drought in Australia is defined in relation to a rainfall deficiency of pastoral leases and is determined by decile analysis applied to a certain area.[2] Note that this definition uses rainfall only because long-term records are widely available across most of Australia. However, it does not take into account other variables that might be important for establishing surface water balance, such as evaporation and condensation.

Historical climatic records are now sufficiently reliable to profile climate variability taking into account expectations for regions.[3] Bureau of Meteorology records since the 1860s show that a ‘severe’ drought has occurred in Australia, on average, once every 18 years.[4] State Governments are responsible for declaring a region drought affected and the declaration will take into account factors other than rainfall.[1]

The worst drought to affect the country occurred in the 21st century—between the years 2003 to 2012. Nonetheless, many regions of Australia are still in significant drought and rainfall records have showed a marked decrease in precipitation levels since 1994, with many scientists attributing this to climate change and global warming.[5] Deficiencies in northern Australia increased in 2013–14, leading to an extended drought period in certain parts of Queensland.…

Australian cyclical drought data:


Additional data on drought cyclicality:


With climate change precipitation is increasing and expected to increase much more in the future. However that precip increase will mainly be in higher latitudes (which can come down as rain or snow), with lower latitudes experiencing more drought conditions.

We can’t even get past the denialists and their blockage of CC in general, so how can we be preparing for CC impacts?


Preparing for CC impacts.

Who flies around their private jets and buys beach-front property?


I don’t know. Trump?


In the meantime those SST are on the rise…

Perhaps we will be fortunate and a big iceberg will split off some Antarctic shelf and crash into Aus, regardless of what Wikipedia and opinion blog doyannes and doyennes write


Or Gore.

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