The Bay Area includes half of the state’s shoreline. Could the flooding we saw in New York and New Jersey happen in Northern California? We talk to Jeffrey Mount, professor of geology and founding director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, about natural disaster risk in the Bay Area and the lessons we can learn from Hurricane Sandy.

Jeffrey Mount, professor of geology, director emeritus and founding director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis
Joe LaClair, chief planner with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission

  • Slappy

    Buy a gun.

    • Rhet

      Carrying gun very dangerous pastime, sometimes cause great tragedies.
      -Charlie Chan

  • Rhet

    The biggest takeaway from Sandy and Katrina is that the stupid humans need to adapt to Mother Nature rather than telling Mother Nature how things are going to be.

    We need to question our collective hubris, and reject past bad decisions, such as building cities at sea level, locating companies in crowded hyper-expensive metropolises (NYC, Bay Area), or constructing flimsy houses at the shore.

    Humans used to be good at adaptation. Perhaps our addiction to cheap energy has fooled us into thinking we don’t have to adapt.

    • I agree. We humans think we control everything and the weather. It is the other way around. The weather can control us. Too bad some of those beach front homes are now damaged in New Jersey.

  • Bill_Woods

    The disaster in our future is the Big One earthquake, not a ‘superstorm’.

  • PaloAltoJeff

    your guest briefly mentioned the 1998 flood in Palo Alto. That took out E*Trade for a day (I was working there at the time) as well as a bunch of houses and some cars at the dealerships there on Embarcadero Road.

    The levees in Palo Alto are still unchanged, as is the bridge on San Francisquito Creek which led to the creek backing up and dozens of expensive houses flooding

    • PaloAltoJeff

      The point being: it IS a real threat, it HAS already happened, and we need to act.

  • Howard

    Why is the magnitude of the tides increasing?

  • Ellis

    Thank you Professor Mount,

    May I suggest that a “Blue Ribbon
    Commission” be empowered to study how climate change or a major
    wheather event will affect our coastlines and make recommendations.
    Maybe, ABAG would be the agency that spearheads this effort. We may
    need to mandate the necssary changes via government such as building
    codes, etc.

    The actuarials will definitely be
    looking at the possibility of a major wheather event. We should be
    preparing and taking preventative action now!

  • Charles Carlson

    With specific respect to San Francisco, the dynamic of two competing interests have become embodied in city policy and politics. We have a derelict port with a struggling Port Authority supporting development to survive. The Port controls and manages lots of potentially valuable real estate––if they can only find the “right” developer. This situation inherently pits the public’s long term interest and rational planning process against short term interests with the “public left holding the bag” in the end. It’s a crazy situation. Look at the investments being made and planned. It’s scary and ultimately costly and there’s no reason for it given our knowledge of the processes in play on a global scale.

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