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Don't Panic, Southern California, But It May Not Rain on You for Another 30 Years

Scott Lucas | August 29, 2014 | Story News and Features

It never rains in Southern California is more than just a laid-back soft rock hit. It's the future. There's never going to be any more rain there, forever and ever, the end. Don't believe us? Believe science.

A new paper published in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate and conducted by researchers at Cornell, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey finds an 80% chance of a drought lasting ten years in the southwestern United States, including large parts of Southern California. Worse—there's a 50% chance of a megadrought that could last for over 30 years.

One of the authors of the paper told the LA Times, "I am not trying to say this is imminent, but the risk is high." We've seen the movies, and we know that this line is exactly what scientists say 10 minutes before Godzilla eats the city, or the piranha volcano erupts and piranhas fly everywhere, or the megadrought starts.

A megadrought is defined as a drought that is "worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years." There's a high level for such conditions to develop in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Northern Mexico, as well as the southeast part of California. We're not trying to freak you out here, but megadroughts are the kind of thing that cause civilizations to collapse. Just putting that out there.

How unprecedented would such conditions be? Well there's two ways to look at it. For one, the Dust Bowl, which caused immense human misery in the 1930s, wasn't as bad as a megadrought. The other way to look at it: #megadrought has its own hashtag. You know it's serious when it has a hashtag.

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