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Is LA Ready For A Mega Flood? And Other Headlines.

A black and white image showing a deluge of a river.
The L.A. River in Compton circa 1912
(Courtesy of L.A. Public Library)
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Back in the 1860s, a series of storms in Southern California set new ground. It was called by those who lived through it “The Big Winter.” There was so much rain that the L.A. River flooded and joined with the San Gabriel River, permanently shifting the mouth of the L.A. River to Long Beach. Hundreds of Southern Californians drowned. Cattle were lost and the economy took a hit.

What "The Big Winter" Means For The Future

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As I read through my colleague Erin Stone’s latest story about this history and the growing probability of another mega flood, I can’t help but think about our recent set of atmospheric rivers. The pattern of repeat storms echoes that from 1862.

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Our world, let alone our state, has changed a great deal since then. We’ve had a Civil War, the emancipation of enslaved Black people, the genocide of Indigenous communities, the Industrial Revolution and several migration movements that brought a whole lot more people out west. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad connecting San Francisco to the East Coast made transferring resources so much quicker.

The growth of urban industrial development, transportation and technology made a huge impact on our environment, for better and for worse. Because with all the economic growth, comes the burning of fossil fuels and releasing of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, warming our planet.

As Erin explains in her article, all of this leads to potentially dangerous consequences, like prolonged and hotter droughts, which can lead to more severe storms. She cites research out of UCLA that indicates these mega floods could happen more frequently and be even more devastating than those of the past.

Read Erin’s story to learn more about how Southern California’s landscape has been forever changed by flooding, as well as what areas in L.A. are at a higher risk of being flooded in the future.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • A new report from the American Lung Association revealed that San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties have the worst ozone levels in the nation. My colleague Jackie Fortiér has more on the “State of the Air.” 
  • There could soon be more mental health and substance abuse addiction treatment beds coming to L.A. for people who are unhoused. This follows a legal settlement between L.A. County officials and the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights. 
  • Riverside County is leading the charge when it comes to getting doulas enrolled in the new Medi-Cal program for low-income birthing families. Nearly half of the Southern California doulas enrolled come from that area. My colleague Mariana Dale has more information on how this program is working in the region. 
  • Decades ago, Francisco “Franky” Carrillo was wrongfully convicted of murder, landing him behind bars for 20 years. Now, he’s running for California’s 27th Congressional District seat. 
  • A study found that school violence in California has declined over the last two decades. It seems like a head scratcher when reports of mass shootings in schools are on the rise, but there’s evidence that schools have improved their systems for handling student behavior and mental health. Still, there is more work to be done. 
  • What is a “true threat”? That is the question the Supreme Court has to answer when it comes to one case involving a singer-songwriter and a man who was convicted and sentenced for stalking her.
  • Hockey is notoriously known for being an extremely physical sport. Recently, preliminary findings from Boston University found that years of playing hockey can increase a player’s chance of developing CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman is unconvinced of the connection. 
  • Tax credits have helped several Californians and their families recover financially from the pandemic. California officials could expand tax credits with two bills sending $1 billion annually to families who are low-income. 
  • It’s Earth Day weekend, my friend, and we have several events lined up for you. On Friday, attend the Earth Day Summit Pop-Up at the California Market Center and learn all about conscious consumerism. Want to take action? Volunteer with the California Climate Action Corps on Saturday. Lastly, one of my favorite FREE events in the Southland is the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC. Check it out on Saturday and Sunday.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait! One More Thing...

Learning Western Armenian Language In Creative Ways

A black and white photo of a group of men and women who are both sitting and standing posing for the camera.
Class photo at American-sponsored Armenian school in Athens, Greece, 1925.
(Courtesy of Shades of L.A. Photo Collection)
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Remember when we talked about eating vegan food, Armenian style, for Lent in L.A. last month? Well, now Liz Ohanesian has another story to share with us, but it’s not about food. It’s about an endangered language and how third generation-Armenians are trying to revitalize it.

It’s the language of those who lived during the Ottoman rule and Armenian Genocide. It’s called Western Armenian and it’s been at risk of disappearing for the past 13 years.

One of the people trying to save it is UCLA Professor Hagop Gulludjian and he is doing it by teaching the language through creative writing. Ohanesian has more about how he is using innovative techniques to teach students about Western Armenian – and restore some lost heritage.

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