Definition: ARk stands for Atmospheric River 1,000.
It's an epic system consisting of atmospheric rivers that form in the tropics, move up to California and dump up to 10 feet of rain in the course of weeks.
The last time this event occurred: Such a storm devastated California for 45days from late 1861 until February 1862, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
When the next event could occur and the expected cost of damage: These storms occur every 100 or 200 years. Should another event occur, experts predict business interruption costs of $325 billion from Orange County south to San Diego.
May 1, 2011
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