Save the Date
Event2024 CEPSYM
Date/TimeThursday, July 11, 2024
PlaceARC Ballroom
University of California, Davis
760 Orchard Road
ThemeAnticipating and Planning for California Floods - Past and Future

Why this theme?

In 2024 we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the California Extreme Precipitation Symposium. The first Symposium was held in June 1994 at Sierra College where 55 weather aficionados gathered on a Saturday in Sewell Hall. "Predicting Heavy Rainfall Events in California: A Symposium to Share Weather Pattern Knowledge" was the theme.

The purpose of the Symposium was described as follows:

There is an emerging body of knowledge regarding weather patterns responsible for producing heavy rainfall events in California. Greater awareness of and further development of this knowledge can provide advance warning of these events to operators of dams and reservoirs used for flood control, to offices of emergency services, to disaster relief organizations, and to the citizens of California.

This symposium is intended to bring together knowledgeable people to:

  1. Share their research and experience regarding weather patterns which cause heavy rainfall events in California,
  2. Increase the dissemination of this knowledge, and
  3. Advance the science of identifying and recognizing these weather patterns.

The motivation to hold the Symposium came from the proposed flood control dam at Auburn on the American River. Was the dam really needed or could predicted extreme rainfall be used to decide to release stored water to create empty reservoir space in advance of the rain arriving?

We will look back at what we have learned over the past 30 years about extreme precipitation events in the California and the American River basin. We will also look forward to the questions that remain.

Research meteorologists and hydrologists connected with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) located within the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have researched the historic record floods in California. They identified atmospheric rivers (AR) as the source of all major flood events starting with the Great Flood of 1861-1862 and extending to the present.

The impacts of climate change are projected to increase flood risk in California from ARs. This potential prompts us to take a look at past assumptions about flood risk and compare them to the future projections in the American River, Sacramento River, San Joaquin River, and Truckee River watersheds.

The day concludes with three panel members representing Federal, State, and local agency perspectives to discuss the topic: How does society plan for anticipated future flood risks?

What is CEPSYM?

The California Extreme Precipitation Symposium is an informal day of scientific and technical presentations meant to increase our knowledge and understanding of extreme precipitation events. Goals of CEPSYM are to improve flood risk management planning and increase warning time for large floods.

Each year, CEPSYM presentations focus on a specific theme. Almost every paper or presentation given since starting in 1994 is available under Speaker Presentations.

Speaker Presentations

Speaker presentations from each Symposium are available on this website. Presentations may be posted in one or more formats: abstracts, printable slides from the presenters, and/or audio of the sessions.

More Information

Interested? Are you interested in talking on a technical or scientific topic related to the Symposium's purpose? Would you like to attend the next symposium? Contact us to be notified via email of the next Symposium.

2023 Sponsors

Rain Sponsors — $500+

MBK Engineers
West Consultants, Inc.
Wood Rodgers
Balance Hydrologics, Inc.
NHC - Northwest Hydraulic Consultants
Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency
UC Davis Institute of the Environment
Center for Watershed Sciences

Shower Sponsors — $250+

Alert Users Group