Major flood would hit Los Angeles Black communities disproportionately hard, study finds
For the third year in a row, a massive flood would slam Los Angeles, with nearly as much water pouring down as the one that devastated San Francisco in October 2008, the same study showed.
The study, by Columbia University’s Center for Risk Research, shows that the threat extends to more than a dozen communities, though the majority of the hardest hit are considered black.
“It’s almost like another San Andreas situation we have gotten used to over the years,” said Christopher Murray, senior associate at the Los Angeles County Flood Control Corp.
“This is going to be much worse,” he said.
The flooding could reach as far south as downtown Los Angeles, and north as far as Malibu Creek, where the waterway crosses into Santa Monica. Those are already flooded by runoff from the hills.
The study found in one case the flooding would wipe out 1.2 million homes in Los Angeles County, and in another, it would reach 1.6 million households through the region’s most vulnerable areas.
Much of the Los Angeles region was hit so hard by the devastating floods of October, that the city has since required all homes to be retrofitted and all new homes built in flood zones with at least four feet of earthen fill.
The storm has also brought a record rainfall, making an already wet county more vulnerable to more powerful, destructive storms like this year’s.
And while the effects of a flood have long been clear to residents in flood zones, and have been included in official flood maps, the extent to which the communities of color are disproportionately affected often remains under the radar.
And the extent to which the cities of color are disproportionately affected by floods, which often become more severe when storms hit and can take decades to fully recover from, could mean that residents of these traditionally low-income communities risk another devastating flood.