From the SF Gate Californians live with the specter of the Big One, but many don’t realize “The One” may not be an earthquake. One hundred and sixty years ago, the biggest flood in modern history wiped out California: 4,000 dead, one-third of all property destroyed, a quarter of the state’s 800,000 cattle drowned or starved. California went so utterly bankrupt that its governor, Legislature and state employees didn’t draw a paycheck for 18 months. (more)