If Lake Silverwood, which is actually a reservoir for the State Water Project, were to burst, the consequences would be like in James Thurber's Johnstown: The Day the Dam Broke. Silverwood should never have been dammed. The flood of water would spread westward, toward Summit Valley and potentially through Horsethief Canyon (Highway 138) and emerge at the Cajon Pass. In the process, this would flood the Antelope Valley Wash ("Honda Valley") and the section through the Hesperia Golf Course, to emerge at the Mojave River itself.


But the bulk of the water would flow northward. It would easily wash out the newer bridge on Arrowhead Lake Road. Then it would take out the Forks Dam (which is concrete over fill) and proceed down the Mojave River channel. Next to fall would be the Rock Springs Road viaduct (a "viaduct" is a roadway with culverts beneath), the railroad trestle bridge and Bear Valley Road. The surge of water would easily wipe out Merrill Gardens (which, from all appearances, is actually below the level of the Mojave River), Jess Ranch, the Equestrian Center, as well as the shopping centers, until it was contained by the hills below Kiowa Road. On the western side, the lower Victor Valley College campus would be washed away and Spring Valley Lake would flood, as well as the Narrows Park. The Upper Narrows formation might withstand the flood.


Not to mention the devastation a movement on the San Andreas Rift Zone would cause in the Victor Valley. Bridges down, roadways impassable including I-15 and the Cajon Pass, utilities disruption, homes and businesses damaged or collapsed medical emergencies galore, etc.


Now can we prepare for a disaster of this magnitude? Earthquake preparedness in homes and businesses is a must. An early warning system, like a siren, in Spring Valley Lake, Jess Ranch and Merrill Gardens is another. Lowering the water level in Silverwood would be still another good idea. Also, in building the viaduct on Ranchero Road, the city of Hesperia should install flood gates that can be closed to contain most of the water and protect homes along that off-shoot of the Antelope Valley Wash, and the golf course itself. Other than that, Hesperia (and Victorville) are on high ground and not likely to flood in such a disaster.


The Apple Valley Town Council will no doubt deny the flooding hazard. But I would urge the property owners associations to demand an early warning system to protect their lives from danger and in Spring Valley Lake, too. And as I stated at the beginning of this article, get to high ground, even during a moderate earthquake.


We should all be aware of what will occur the next time the San Andreas Rift Zone, which is some 50 or 60 years past-due, moves. The potential is there, and may come sooner than we think. Be prepared!