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July 6, 2007
The apocalypse comes to Sacramento ...

... courtesy of Anderson Cooper.

On Thursday night, on his "360" news magazine on CNN, Cooper ran a special report called "Edge of Disaster" that, essentially, turned Sacramento into one huge lake.

Here's a partial transcript of reporter David Mattingly's report, which included "re-creations":

Mattingly: "This is the scenario. It's been raining for days. The normally dry, hard ground is near saturated. But the California sun is out now, peeking through the clouds in Sacramento.

"A rain cloud has at last lifted and the streets of the capital are busy again. People enjoying the outdoors. Then suddenly, a few hours later, the storms return. The wind kicks up and the Sacramento River, already swollen from the earlier rains, now surges. Lashing at the 2,400 miles of aging, crumbling levees that snake around much of Northern California.

"Here the water rises higher and higher. This is the city most vulnerable to flooding in the entire United States. Even more so than New Orleans. But the real danger is beginning to unfold just over there, beyond the capital dome and the skyscrapers of downtown.

"In sprawling tracks of suburban housing built right up to the edge of the levees, people are anxious. Can the levees hold back a flood?....

"And as the water rises, anxiety turns to fear. But the worst is yet to come. A powerful earthquake strikes. And the decrepit water-soaked levees begin to shake and start to dissolve....

"Homes alongside the levees are instantly under water. Owners who haven't evacuated, swept away in a rush of muddy torrents. Thousands drove or were airlifted to shelters scattered across the northern Sacramento region.

"In downtown Sacramento, city streets are swamped, important government buildings are cut off. And as waters continue to surge, the affects of this catastrophe are just beginning."

Whoa. That sure scared the stuffing out of us. Only after that overwrought report did Mattingly add: "Though our scenario is fiction, it describes a genuine and terrible risk, punctuated by recent and very real levy failures and floods."

It certainly got our attention.

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