Major flood would hit Los Angeles Black communities disproportionately hard, study finds
In a study for the California Coastal Commission, geologist Larry Stroup examined the flood hazard, and found that African-American communities might be particularly vulnerable to devastating coastal floods.
For the past year, Los Angeles has been experiencing intense rainfall in the area, some 1.1 inches above normal. And some areas are seeing more than an inch.
“It’s unprecedented, and what’s surprising is that it’s not just an occasional drought that comes along,” said Stroup on Monday during an interview in a conference room in the Santa Monica city hall. “I think it may be something like a new normal, a more normal drought.”
The California Coastal Commission, which sets and polices coastal policies, released a report on Monday with findings about the region’s flood risk.
For people living on the coast, the study recommended that public officials look at the entire hazard.
“This is about the safety of people, it’s about protecting the people of Los Angeles,” said Stroup. “This is not about the coastal property owners or coastal property preservation, this is about the safety of the city and the safety of the people.”
Black communities have been particularly hard hit by coastal floods. The L.A. River floods from time to time, sometimes in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.
It has happened in neighborhoods like West Adams, where the river in 2002 inundated three blocks when the dam there collapsed.
The new study, released with the help of the South Bay Water Quality Control Board and UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic, found that the number of deaths in the region increased every year between 2000 and 2009.
The report found that the region has a greater concentration of flood-prone properties, and that the area has relatively higher population density than other coastal communities.
The study’s authors said they are not suggesting that any one community is at risk. But if a major flood event does hit the region, it will do so at one of the city’s most vulnerable areas.
“It’s going to be a