Posts filed under ‘The Environment, Weather, Etc.’
I’m basically hanging out, reading updates on the Boulder Flood and watching the rain come down but, the the hubby and I did manage to walk the dogs around the block. We waited for a lull but one didn’t come so we went out while it was pouring. Mr. Al (the guy on my masthead, above) acted like he was dying for some action all morning but then sulked the whole time we were walking because it was raining. Hey, I tried to tell him but he wouldn’t listen.
When we got back I noticed water was pouring out of the gutter in the back of the house. I guess debris is stuck in the downspout. It just so happens, directly below where it’s pouring out is the entry to our crawl space. It’s got a nice lean-to type cover on it but water was draining in around the curved, metal, window well-like structure that forms the base. The last thing we need is a flooded crawl space (they’re saying the rain won’t stop until Sunday so we’ve got a long way to go), so I spread two tarps over the cover and out away from the house:
Hope that works.
Otherwise, here’s some of what’s been happening:
This is north and west of town but still a fairly well populated area. So scary to read a tweet like this:
Boulder Creek runs right through downtown:
We don’t need hillsides collapsing:
The city is telling businesses to send their workers home. I think they’re worried about a massive flood on Boulder Creek washing into town and they’re trying to get people out. The problem is, Boulder Creek runs through the mountains for miles before it emerges onto the plains immediately to the west of town. Rain water is running down the mountain sides, pouring tons of water into the creek as it moves east toward Boulder. A flash flood is a real possibility:
The Coast Guard is being sent in. Yes, the Coast Guard. There isn’t a coast within a thousand miles of us. That’s how much water we have around here:
Medical marijuana is legal here so there are the inevitable tweets like this:
Oh, the National Guard is coming in too:
And hey, it wouldn’t be a good ol’ American disaster with a Pat Robertson wanna be like this butting in:
I repeat my offer to take in dogs belonging to people who get Raptured. Get in touch with me via my email above.
Oh, and one last thing: The National Weather Service sent out an “Area Forecast Discussion” in which it referred to this rain as “biblical.” The local TV weather people say they’ve never seen the NWS use that word before.
That’s it for now. I just hope we don’t lose power.
This has got to be the most epic photo to come out of the Boulder flood so far. Apologies to whoever took it for not giving credit where credit’s due. It’s making the rounds and at this point, it’s impossible to tell where it originated.
Amazing. So. Much. Water.
(And yes, it’s still raining. It’s getting kind of scary actually.)
As of Sunday, we here in Boulder, Colorado had been sweltering through roughly 12 days of 90º+ heat with humidity levels somewhere around 10%. It was hot and crispy around here.
Then, on Monday, it began to rain and it rained and rained and rained and it’s still raining. There is flooding everywhere; a CU campus spokesperson says he thinks every basement on campus has water in it.
A Boulder firefighter was caught in a tree as a wall of water headed east down Lefthand Canyon. Last word is that he was screaming into a scanner that the tree was washing away. The city has asked for a Blackhawk helicopter to be sent in but apparently the cloud ceiling is too low for it to fly right now.
I’m safe. We live in a hilly area so the water is draining away but I have a lunch date across town which I might have to reschedule. We’re being told to stay home:
The forecast is that it’s supposed to drizzle all day and then pick up tonight with heavy rain expected again.
Ironically, last weekend I made a list of things to do. One of the things was “water, water, water.” I wanted to saturate my perennials going into the fall. Looks like Mother Nature is taking care of that for me. Heh.
Oh, and the poor dogs. They’re going stir crazy.
Wednesday, August 28:
Japan’s nuclear regulator on Wednesday upgraded the rating of a leak of radiation-contaminated water from a tank at its tsunami-wrecked nuclear plant to a “serious incident” on an international scale, and it castigated the plant operator for failing to catch the problem earlier.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s latest criticism of Tokyo Electric Power Co. came a day after the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant acknowledged that the 300-ton (300,000-liter, 80,000-gallon) leak probably began nearly a month and a half before it was discovered Aug. 19.
Tanaka said there is a much larger ongoing problem at the plant: massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea. But that problem cannot even be rated under the IAEA’s International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale because it is unknown exactly how much ground water is escaping, how contaminated it is and what effect it is having on the sea and marine products.
Saturday, September 7:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday that radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant were under control and did not pose any health risks.
Speaking to the IOC before Saturday’s vote to decide the 2020 host city, Abe wasted no time addressing the major issue that has raised doubts about Tokyo‘s chances of staging the world’s biggest multi-sports event.
“Let me assure you the situation is under control,” Abe said. “It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.”
“I explained about the water contamination in Fukushima and explained that the contaminated water was blocked.
“Yes please come to Japan. You can be assured.”
Check out this Washington Post compilation: California Rim Fire: A Blazing Tour from Earth and Space.
I think the most astonishing graph is this one showing the movement of the fire’s carbon monoxide plume:
Amazing that it stretches across both the U.S. and Canada. Wow.
Let’s do it!
Something I’ve wondered: Why hasn’t anyone taken a picture of that gigantic mass of garbage that’s supposedly swirling around out there in the Pacific?
Now I know why no one has:
After nearly three years, the White House began installing solar panels on the First Family’s residence this week, a White House official confirmed Thursday.
The Obama administration had pledged in October 2010 to put solar panels on the White House as a sign of the president’s commitment to renewable energy.
The White House official, who asked not to be identified because the installation is in process, wrote in an e-mail the project is “a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.”
Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House in 1977 and Ronald Reagan took them down in 1986. Finally, 28 years later they’re going back up.
Ian Stirling, who has studied polar bears for nearly 40 years, told The Guardian newspaper that he found the animal on Svalbard in July.
“From his lying position in death the bear appears to simply have starved and died where he dropped,” Stirling said. “He had no external suggestion of any remaining fat, having been reduced to little more than skin and bone.”
The bear was examined by Norwegian scientists in April about 150 miles south and seemed to be healthy at that time.
“Most of the fjords and inter-island channels in Svalbard did not freeze normally last winter and so many potential areas known to that bear for hunting seals in spring do not appear to have been as productive as in a normal winter,” said Stirling, of conservation group Polar Bears International. “As a result the bear likely went looking for food in another area but appears to have been unsuccessful.”
Ashley Cooper, the photographer who took the picture, said the sight of the dead polar bear was “desperately sad.”
“There was just no fat on it. It was just completely shrunken and shriveled, a very, very skinny specimen of a polar bear,” he said in a telephone interview. “It looked basically like a rug because there was just no weight on it at all.”
Cooper said scavengers had not eaten parts of the body and there were no signs of decomposition, which happens slowly in the low temperatures of the Arctic.
Japan’s nuclear watchdog has said the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is facing a new “emergency” caused by a build-up of radioactive groundwater.
A barrier built to contain the water has already been breached, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority warned.
This means the amount of contaminated water seeping into the Pacific Ocean could accelerate rapidly, it said.
Go to the link immediately above to watch a 2.07 minute video explaining the hurtles that have to be overcome to fix the situation. It sounds impossible to me.
There was a march against Chevron and fracking in Richmond, California today:
The police, who we pay, with our tax dollars, protected Chevron:
Look at those Darth Vader-like guys.
This is what the militarization of America’s police force looks like.
I’m so glad Global Warming is a hoax:
Authorities in China have issued a first ever nationwide emergency “orange” level heat alert after more than 10 people died from sunstroke in Shanghai.
The city is suffering some of the worst effects of a wide-reaching heatwave, which has seen it experience the hottest July for 140 years.
The mercury has been at or above 35C [95ºF] for 24 days this month, and hit a peak of 40.6C [105.08ºF], Shanghai’s highest-ever recorded temperature.
This time of year I’m usually scrambling to keep the plants I’m summering on the deck watered and protected from drying out overnight. Today I brought them inside because they’re going to rot if they get more rain, which we’ve had here in Boulder for at least two weeks now.
Oh, and I put up a window box on the west side of the house and planted it full of Calibrachoa:
Calibrachoa need “at least” six hours of direct sun every day.
They haven’t had direct sun in a month.
Look how pitiful they are. They should be spilling out over the box and down the side.
Ugh. If it weren’t for Faux News, I’d think there was something fishy going on with, you know, the climate.
The North Pole, that great bastion of eternal cold and barren ice, is a lake.
It’s a shallow lake. It’s a cold lake. But it is, actually, a lake.
According to the North Pole Environmental Observatory, the summer ice is melting away at unprecedented rates. The sea of snow is now meltwater.
See a time-lapse of the arctic winter, turning to summer, right here.
The North Pole July 22, 2013:
The problem with what’s going via Global Warming is that we’re getting used to this kind of thing. We aren’t thrown-back-in-our-chairs shocked.
When I was a kid, the thought of seeing the North Pole covered in water was, well, it just wasn’t part of reality. That didn’t happened. It was always snowy and blizzardy up there. The ice didn’t melt. Ever.
Now? The feature marking the location of the North Pole is surrounded by water. Meh.
Hum, here’s an interesting new problem we face due to Global Warming (from July 19):
The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth [Massachusetts] has been forced to reduce its power output after this week’s heat wave made Cape Cod Bay water too warm to use for cooling the reactor.
A spokeswoman for the plant’s owner, Entergy, confirmed to the Quincy Patriot Ledger that the power plant reduced its output by 15 percent earlier this week.
State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan said Friday that officials were monitoring the situation at Pilgrim closely, but at the moment it did not appear to be a major concern.
I can imagine all of this happening, especially the part about Miami being broke given what it’s likely to do to try to protect itself after successive hurricanes between now and 2030:
When the water receded after hurricane Milo of 2030, there was a foot of sand covering the famous bow-tie floor in the lobby of the Fontaine-bleau hotel in Miami Beach. A dead manatee floated in the pool where Elvis had once swum. Most of the damage occurred not from the hurricane’s 175-mph winds, but from the 24-foot storm surge that overwhelmed the low-lying city. In South Beach, the old art-deco- buildings were swept off their foundations. Mansions on Star Island were flooded up to their cut-glass doorknobs. A 17-mile stretch of Highway A1A that ran along the famous beaches up to Fort Lauderdale disappeared into the Atlantic. The storm knocked out the wastewater-treatment plant on Virginia Key, forcing the city to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay. Tampons and condoms littered the beaches, and the stench of human excrement stoked fears of cholera. More than 800 people died, many of them swept away by the surging waters that submerged much of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale; 13 people were killed in traffic accidents as they scrambled to escape the city after the news spread – falsely, it turned out – that one of the nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, an aging power plant 24 miles south of Miami, had been destroyed by the surge and sent a radioactive cloud over the city.
The president, of course, said Miami would be back, that the hurricane did not kill the city, and that Americans did not give up. But it was clear to those not fooling themselves that this storm was the beginning of the end. With sea levels more than a foot higher than they’d been at the dawn of the century, South Florida was wet, vulnerable and bankrupt. Attempts had been made to armor the coastline, to build sea walls and elevate buildings, but it was a futile undertaking. The coastline from Miami Beach up to Jupiter had been a little more than a series of rugged limestone crags since the mid-2020s, when the state, unable to lay out $100 million every few years to pump in fresh sand, had given up trying to save South Florida’s world-famous- beaches. In that past decade, tourist visits had plummeted by 40 percent, even after the Florida legislature agreed to allow casino gambling in a desperate attempt to raise revenue for storm protection.
It begins. Four months of being on high alert and on standby, ready to pack the car and go.
My Tweets of the Day:
Hell yeah! Let’s have more “small government:”
The Moore, Oklahoma tornado on May 20, and associated storms, could cost up to $5 billion in insured losses, disaster modeling company Eqecat has estimated, making it the second costliest tornado outbreak on record after Tuscaloosa.
Damage costs are rising because of increased population density, even in mostly rural states such as Oklahoma, which has seen substantial urban sprawl in the last decade, said Greg Carbin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
Another important reason that has received less attention, is that most homes in tornado alley are not built to withstand even a modest tornado.
he result is that residents of tornado alley, insurance companies and the U.S. government are footing a mounting bill from damage that could be limited with better construction, according to several engineers, meteorologists and consumer advocates interviewed by Reuters.
“We have to stop this cycle of a storm coming along destroying things and we build them back the same,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, chief executive of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, a consumer group. “That is the official definition of insanity.”
Tim Marshall, a meteorologist and engineer for Haag Engineering Co in Irving, Texas, said he told the city of Moore about poor construction practices after the huge 1999 tornado.
“We didn’t really change the building codes after the last tornado (1999),” said Elizabeth Jones, community development director of the city of Moore.
In lightly regulated Oklahoma, Republican Governor Mary Fallin has ruled out requiring a safe room or shelter in every school as too expensive, despite the recent deaths, prompting criticism from Democrats who say she is ignoring school safety.
Oklahoma opted to use the 2009 version of the basic minimum U.S. building code and not to update when strengthened rules were issued in 2012, according to Billy Pope, chief executive of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission.
There is no state mechanism to enforce the code, said Pope. Enforcement is left up to local communities and some with populations of 10,000 or less have no inspectors.
“We saw numerous violations of the building codes (in Moore),” said Marshall, a veteran member of the National Weather Service’s rapid response team which went into the town immediately after the May 20 tornado to assess damage.
So, Oklahomans get to have their live-free-or-die! “small government” but we U.S. taxpayers (all of us, not just those in Oklahoma) get to pay to rebuild their regulation-free homes over and over and over again.
More evidence that Global Warming is a hoax:
Russia is evacuating a drifting Arctic research station that was supposed to last until September, because the ice it is built on is starting to break up.
The cracks are another indication of the rapid decline of the Arctic ice sheet — especially so because the encampment is on the Canadian side of the Arctic Sea, where the ice is oldest and most durable.
“It’s a huge loss for us, and for science,” Vladimir Sokolov, director of the expedition, said in a telephone interview from his office in St. Petersburg. “For us, it is very important to get information about the climate system in the high-latitude Arctic.”
The station — the 40th in a string of North Pole drift stations that began in 1937 — went into operation Oct. 1, later than usual because the leaders of the project had a difficult time finding a sufficiently robust floe to base the camp on. In fact, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the extent of sea ice in September was the lowest on record, 18 percent lower than the previous minimum, in 2007.
When I’m around little kids I shutter to think what the planet will be like when they’re my age.
Per Wikipedia, there have only been seven known tornadoes in Massachusetts since 1787. Weird.
OMG. I’m watching video of the horrible devastation in Moore, Oklahoma as a result of what looks to have been an extraordinarily powerful, huge tornado that slammed into the town about an hour ago.
My heart goes out to you Moore.
Here is a link to the Red Cross if you care to donate.
Wow. This is fantastic news, especially in light of the fact that I read something the other day about how President Obama is surrounded by pro-Keystone corporate types:
With President Obama preparing to return to California on June 6 for fundraising in the Bay Area, a crowd of major donors — including from California — have signed a strong letter urging his rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline extension.
The letter comes in a week when it appears Vice President Joe Biden may have tipped his hand regarding his opposition to the pipeline.
On June 6, the President will travel to the Bay Area for a DSCC event in the evening, White House officials have said.
On June 7, the President will travel to Los Angeles for a DNC lunch event.
The letter on Keystone includes signatures of major California deep pocketed donors who regularly write big checks to the Democratic party — folks like San Francisco Democrat Susie Tompkins Buell, one of the Party’s most generous donors, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, and CREDO Mobile’s Michael Michael Kieschnick, among many others.
Click on “More…” immediately above to read the letter and to see the huge list of signatories. Fantastic.
Carbon Dioxide Level Passes Long-Feared Milestone
The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported on Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.
Scientific monitors reported that the gas had reached an average daily level that surpassed 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.
The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.
“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.
The new measurement came from analyzers high atop Mauna Loa, the volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has long been ground zero for monitoring the worldwide carbon dioxide trend.
Devices there sample clean, crisp air that has blown thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, producing a record of rising carbon dioxide levels that has been closely tracked for half a century.
I’m going to be dead before the effect of this really kicks in but for the life of me, I don’t know why parents of little kids all around the world aren’t marching in the streets over this. Well, yes I do know why. They’re trying to stay afloat in this dog-eat-dog world, but you know what I mean.
Pity the children who will inherit what’s left of our Earth:
Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy.
According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area’s environment and threaten their traditional way of life.
This infuriates me:
Food, shelter, and clothing are often considered the three basic needs by humans and the actions by President Obama on Tuesday have now left millions of Americans across the land in shock as the very first tenet has been horrifically jeopardized by his signing the Monsanto Protection Act into law (H.R. 933) as mentioned on the Facebook page for Food Democracy Now.
For those that are new to this situation, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill.
Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735 of this bill actually grants Monsanto immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous.
Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GMO crops that are thought — even by the US government — to be a danger to human health or our cherised environment.
Oh my God! What. Is. Obama. Thinking?
The gun industry has immunity from the courts too. Look how well that’s workin’ out for us.
Unbelievable. Obama’s brain has been taken over by the corporatocracy.
Way to go humans:
This lagoon [in Rio de Janeiro], called Rodrigo de Freitas, is where the Olympic rowing competitions will be held in 2016. The fish died after oxygen levels in the water dropped because of pollution, local media said.
Ugh. Not a good sign for what might come this spring and summer (about 45 miles north of me):
All evacuees get to go home Saturday night, as fire officials say they’ve got a line on the south end of the Galena Fire in Lory State Park west of Fort Collins.
“I thought we were going to be out longer,” said Karen Post outside the evacuation center at Cache La Poudre Schools. She and her husband, Doug, were “relieved” to hear the news from fire officials Saturday afternoon, she said.
No substantial rain fell on the 750 to 1,000 acre wildfire since it started Friday, but the firefighting effort that included saving two homes and the visitor center has brought 45 percent containment, officials said. The Posts said the wildfire came within 1,000 yards of a home they own near the south end of the state park.
About 110 firefighters were on the ground Saturday. Simons said predicted moisture didn’t materialize, but lower temperatures and higher relative humidity helped slow the fire’s growth between Friday and Saturday.
I have the local CBSDenver news on now as I’m making dinner and the weather guy is predicting high winds tomorrow: “25, 35, even 50 miles per hour.”
I’ve lived in Colorado since 1977. Fires in March aren’t the norm by any means. Fire season used to begin in July / August.
New group Wants to Raise Water Levels in Lakes Michigan, Huron
A newly formed coalition is demanding action to raise water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Restore Our Water International is an alliance of U.S. and Canadian groups worried about declining levels in the two lakes over the past 14 years. Its members represent shoreline property owners and commercial interests.
The chairman is Roger Gauthier, a retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydrologist.
He says dredging and mining in the St. Clair River corridor years ago reduced Lakes Michigan and Huron by at least 20 inches. He says that has combined with a warmer and drier climate to keep the levels abnormally low.
Existing law allows the government to place structures in the river to slow the flow of water out of Lake Huron. But it’s never been done.
I just had a creepy thought. As the effects of climate change become more and more pronounced, “shoreline property owners and
commercial interests corporations” will ask We the People to pay for hugely expensive stuff like this — so they can maintain their lake-front views — while they blackmail us into doing so by saying we’ll “lose jobs” if we don’t.
Say it ain’t so already.
Here’s a picture of a small table-top grill on my back deck — under that mound to the left — and Miss Tillie and snow, snow, snow. There are 13″ out there.
Twenty more days like this and maybe we can beat the drought!