LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Severe climate could impact more than half of Los Angeles County’s residents, and not just those who live along the coasts.
An estimated 56% of Los Angeles County’s residents – nearly 5.7 million people – are at high risk of extreme heat, wildfire, inland flooding, extreme precipitation, coastal flooding, and drought, according to a study released Wednesday by the county’s Chief Sustainability Office.READ MORE: LA County Sheriff's Deputies Armed With Cleaning Supplies Help 86-Year-Old La Mirada Woman Living In Filthy, Unsafe Conditions
“This report really brings to light the dangers that immigrant, low-wage workers and other vulnerable populations face not just once in a while, but on an increasingly regular basis,” Nancy Zuniga, a workers advocate who served on the study’s advisory committee, said in a statement.
Nearly 17% of the county’s population lives in areas that are considered highly vulnerable, including those who live in East Los Angeles, South Gate and Bellflower; Long Beach and San Pedro; Santa Clarita; Reseda and Winnetka; Montebello; Westlake and Crenshaw districts; and North Lancaster, Hi Vista, and Roosevelt in the Antelope Valley.READ MORE: 'Survivor 41' Episode 6: The Merge Part 1
By 2050, the report determined that extreme heat and megadroughts that last multiple decades are among the most severe climate impacts poised to disrupt daily life. The study also found that 20% of the county’s properties are at risk of flooding during a large storm event and we can see more extreme swings between droughts and rainfall that leads to flash flooding and landslides. The San Gabriel Mountains could also see a 40% increase in wildfire burn areas, according to the report, while the local shorelines could see the ocean rise by 2.5 feet.
“While we know places like Long Beach and San Pedro will face rising tides and Bellflower and its surrounding communities will experience extreme heat, we also know that by taking action today to reduce emissions and prepare our communities, we can avoid the worst impacts,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement.MORE NEWS: Regina King Places Handprints, Footprints Outside TCL Chinese Theatre In Hollywood
The county’s findings echo a report issued earlier this week by Climate Central, an international group of scientists and journalists studying the changing climate and its impact on the public. Images released by the group project that even if carbon pollution were sharply cut, most of Santa Monica’s beaches could be covered by the Pacific Ocean by the end of this century. But if nations continue their current carbon path, most of the Santa Monica Pier is projected to be submerged in water, along with most of the city’s oceanfront property.