Thursday, December 29, 2005

Heavy Rains Create More California Flooding

Many major rivers and streams in southern California have been rising the past week due to heavy rains which the local desert terrain can't handle. I've noticed the past couple of years that the weather in California is almost the total opposite of here in Texas. Right now we are dry as a bone and brush fires are a daily problem. However, in southern California they are getting much more rain than they can handled and no relief is in sight.

All this heavy rain is being caused by a strange weather system in the Pacific Ocean which is stirring up high waves and dangerous conditions for swimmers and surfers all around the area. Someone told be once that land in the desert is like a paved drive way. The ground is as hard as a rock and when water hits it, rather than soak in like it's suppose to, it just runs off like it would on a cement sidewalk during a driving rain.

Of course, there is one place in California where the rain does soak into and that's the hillside areas. However, rather than being a good thing, it just causes mudslides which can wreck havoc on roads and homes anywhere near them when they start to slide. It was just a few years ago when a big chunk of mountain gave way and buried dozens of homes in this area.

This year is turning out to be one of the worst years I've ever seen when it comes to weather disasters and while I thought all the bad stuff might have been over after the hurricane season, here comes the California heavy rains. It's almost like 2005 isn't going to go out quietly. This year has been a pain, weather wise, all year long and it looks like we are not going to see any relief in the last few days of this year.

A newscaster said something once that I just remembered, when talking about all the potential problems of California, from earthquakes to sever flooding, he said that there is a price for living in paradise and that kind of makes sense to me. People that live in southern California love living in desert conditions with a cool westerly wind blowing in off the Pacific Ocean. It must seem like paradise to them, most of the time. It's these darn off days that make life bad and turn paradise into hell, a few times each year.

There is some good news in this story because engineers have been busy the past few years widening rivers and raising bridges in many parts of southern California, to better allow heavy rain runoff to leave flood prone areas quickly. By raising the bridges, it helps them not clog up with junk as the flood waters rush down stream. As we've seen in other flooded areas like New Orleans, these clogged bridges can create a ton of problems when they prevent water from moving naturally.

To all my friends in California, take a deep breath and blow that rain away to an area where it will be welcome. Central Texas, where I live, sounds like a good place!

Hutch Report Archive