California’s flooding reveals we’re still building cities for the climate of the past

Read the full story from NPR.

Heavy storms have flooded roads and intersections across California and forced thousands to evacuate over the last few weeks. Much of the water isn’t coming from overflowing rivers. Instead, rainfall is simply overwhelming the infrastructure designed to drain the water and keep people safe from flooding.

To top it off, the storms come on the heels of a severe drought. Reservoirs started out with such low water levels that many are only now approaching average levels—and some are still below average.

The state is increasingly a land of extremes.

New infrastructure must accommodate a “new normal” of intense rainfall and long droughts, which has many rethinking the decades-old data and rules used to build existing infrastructure.

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