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El Nino – drought AND floods in California

Posted by on October 8th 2015

from the Guardian

The Golden State has suffered four parched years, but the land could be too dry to absorb heavy rains anticipated this winter
Vast swathes of forest are so brittle and bone-dry that they burn up in an instant. A vicious wildfire, whipped up by hot, arid winds and moving faster than anything in recent memory, consumed tens of thousands of hectares in a matter of hours. Hundreds of homes and at least one person were lost in an inferno that took days to get under control. That’s in California’s north…
[In the south]  …Rather than relief, the water brought chaos. Thousands lost power and hundreds of cars crashed on flooded roads, according to the Los Angeles Times. Almost one million litres of stormwater surged from San Gabriel sewers, contaminating the river and beaches dozens of kilometres downstream. At least one home plunged down a hillside as the earth beneath it was suddenly washed away. Ten people had to be plucked from rushing, rain-swollen rivers by rescue crews.
See Water Is Life: “The soil is drying out.  Water is being lost, and the retention space, the natural water storage system of the Earth, is becoming dry.  Then the flora and fauna disappear.  In the end the land will turn into desert or burn because it’s too dry.  You can see these problems happening all over the world, bringing huge catastrophes.  And the heavy rains come anyway.  What happens then?  The water rushes down the slopes, because the dry soil does not absorb the water; when the soil is hotter than the falling rain it rejects the water.  Only when the soil is cooler, when the vegetation is giving shadow, then it attracts the water and lets it seep in.”