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Jan 22, 2006

Map Finds Many In Sacramento At Risk Of Flood

Combining data from the U.S. Census with flood maps, the Sacramento Bee concluded that more than 150,000 of Sacramento County's elderly, poor and disabled, live in areas prone to substantial flooding and could face difficulty evacuating in times of serious flooding.

The Bee matched a flood map from the state Department of Water Resources with U.S. Census 2000 tract data. The paper included any census tract where most of the land would be covered by at least 2 feet of water. Census data listed 183,000 vulnerable people living in flood-prone areas. However, since some people were counted in more than one group, for example being both elderly and poor, the Bee used Census and other data to reduce its estimate of people vulnerable to flooding to 150,000.

Local officials acknowledged the problem but admit they have no firm plans for evacuating the disabled and elderly in case of a major flood. "We simply don't have enough resources to adequately evacuate all these people," said Carole Hopwood, retired manager of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Emergency Operations Division.

The Bee reports that no city in America is at greater risk of a catastrophic flood than Sacramento.