California - Real Estate
Interesting facts about California
California borders the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and the Mexican state of Baja California. The state has strikingly beautiful natural features, including an expansive central valley, tall mountains, arid deserts, and hundreds of miles of scenic coastline. With an area of 160,000 square miles (411,000 km²) it is the third largest state in the U.S and is larger than Germany in size. Most major cities are at or near the Pacific coastline, notably Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Long Beach, Oakland, Santa Ana/Orange County, Riverside/Moreno Valley, San Bernardino and San Diego. However, the capital, Sacramento, is in the Central Valley. The geographic center of the state is located in North Fork, California.
California's geography is rich, complex, and varied. In the middle of the state lies the California Central Valley, a huge, fertile valley bounded by the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the granite Sierra Nevada to the east, the volcanic Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. Mountain-fed rivers, dams, and canals provide water to irrigate the Central Valley. The water supply for much of the state is provided by the State Water Project. The Central Valley Project supports some municipal water supplies, though it primarily provides water to irrigated agriculture. With dredging, several rivers have become sufficiently large and deep that several inland cities (notably Stockton and Sacramento) are seaports. The hot, fertile Central Valley is California's agricultural heartland and grows a large portion of America's food, yet near freezing temperatures are not uncommon during winter which sometimes wipe out portions of crops. The southern part of the valley, which is part desert, is known as the San Joaquin Valley (drained by the San Joaquin River), while the northern half is known as the Sacramento Valley (drained by the Sacramento River). The Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta is a major estuary that supports a brackish ecosystem while serving as the water supply hub for much of the state's population. The Channel Islands are located in the southern part of the state, stretching from Santa Barbara to Orange County. These islands have few inhabitants, but the northernmost islands are a national park. They and the largest island, Santa Catalina Island are attractive to visitors.
In the center and east of the state are the Sierra Nevada (meaning Snowy Range in Spanish), which include the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4421 m). Also located in the Sierra are the world-famous Yosemite National Park and a deep freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe, the largest lake in the state by volume. To the east of the Sierra are Owens Valley and Mono Lake, an essential seabird habitat. To the west is Clear Lake, California's largest freshwater lake by area. The Sierra Nevada reaches arctic temperatures in the winter and has several dozen small glaciers, including the most southern glacier in the US(Palisade Glacier).
About 35% of the state's total surface area is covered by forests. California's diversity of pine species is unmatched by any other state. Though other states have a higher percentage of their land area covered by forests, in terms of total area, California contains more forestland than any other state except Alaska. Most of the forest is found in 2 areas: the northwestern part of the state and along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Smaller forests, mainly consisting of oaks, can be found along the coast ranges of California closer to the coast, and also in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Smaller areas of pine forests can be found in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains of Southern California and also in the mountain areas of central San Diego County. Deserts in California make up about 25% of the total surface area. In the south lay the Transverse Ranges and a large salt lake, the Salton Sea. The south-central desert is called the Mojave. To the northeast of the Mojave lies Death Valley, which contains the lowest, hottest point in North America, Badwater Flat. The lowest point of Death Valley and the peak of Mount Whitney are less than 200 miles apart. Indeed, almost all of southeastern California is arid, hot desert, with the Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley routinely experiencing extreme high temperatures during the summer. These large deserts kept travel between California and Mexico to a bare minimum during the colonial period. The Coachella Valley in Riverside County is famous for its popular tourist destination Palm Springs, California. Other Coachella Valley communities include Bermuda Dunes, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Indio, Coachella and Cathedral City.
Along the densely populated and long California coast are several major metropolitan areas, including San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Santa Ana-Irvine-Anaheim, Riverside-San Bernardino, California and San Diego. Climates near the Pacific Ocean are remarkably moderate compared with inland climates. Winter temperatures seldom reach freezing and summer temperatures rarely reach above the high 80's Fahrenheit (low 30's Celsius).
Information from: wikipedia