Flooding Superstorm May Menace California
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Apparently such a storm hit the state in 1861-62 and continued over 45 days. Because of massive flooding, the state capital had to be moved from Sacramento to San Francisco for a time (Felicity Barringer, “If Quakes Weren’t Enough, Enter the ‘Superstorm,’” The New York Times, January 15, 2011).
Witnesses described a “river that swept away people and livestock. California’s central valley, now America’s breadbasket [of fruits and vegetables] was turned into an inland sea, impassable for months” (John Harlow, “Biblical ‘Arkstorm’ Threatens LA,” The Sunday Times, March 6, 2011).
Scientists have further warned that if the Los Angeles area were hit by such a storm in the next decade, more than 1.5 million people would be rendered homeless, and the cost could be three times as high as a major earthquake.
A writer for the British magazine Geographicalreports that “all around the world extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe. And while the UK has been hit by several devastating floods in recent years, developing countries continue to be profoundly affected, with Pakistan an obvious recent example” (Mark Rowe, October 2010).
Upsets in the weather and natural disasters both play their part in the prophetic framework given in the Bible. Jesus warned of “great earthquakes” (Luke 21:10), which are part of the “beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:7-8, New International Version)—signifying that they will, as labor contractions, increase in frequency and intensity as the return of Christ draws nearer. Yet the word for earthquake here, seismos(from which we get seismicand seismology), literally means “shaking” and applies to shakings of the atmosphere (storms) as well as the ground. In fact, the word seismosis elsewhere translated “tempest” (Matthew 8:24) or “storm” (NIV).
So the many hundreds of tornadoes this year, and even Hurricane Katrina of 2005, are by no means the worst weather we can expect. As we approach Christ’s return, we will see more and bigger storms, with accompanying flooding, than we’ve already seen. Yet even a superstorm hitting California may not be the worst of it. Consider that a comet or asteroid impact, which the Bible also seems to warn will come near the very end (see Revelation 8:6-12), could conceivably raise atmospheric temperatures enough to produce massive hypercanes hundreds of miles across with winds over 500 miles per hour. (Sources: The Sunday Times,Geographical[both London], The New York Times.)