Sunday, October 09, 2005

BERLIN, NY, FLOODS

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The Global warming/dry/flood cycle continues and it shows up here in temperate upstate NY. Statistically, our year would look "normal" rain-wise, but it is very abnormal. We go from lots of rain to no rain at all for weeks and weeks. Normal conditions are the same amount of moisture each month, mud season being when all the accumulated snow melts in one month and the ice locking the soil melts too, causing springs to spring up thus the name, spring.

Well, this is all changing now. We now have spring floods or no springs popping up at all!

This weekend we got 7+" of rain in one storm, the remains of a tropical storm from the Caribbean. It just rained non-stop. I did a lot of road work before it hit and when the real downpours began, Chris and I were out for hours, making baffles along the steep mountain road so it wouldn't wash out. The stream is below Greenhollow Road so we don't worry about rivers running amock on our side of the mountain.

But our inlaws got flooded so we went over there to assist and had to drive over the mountains. On the way home, we descended via Plank Road. In 1890, the small mountain streams there were overwhelmed in a flood which destroyed all the farms in the Hollow. A number of people recolonized this cleft and it was really bad last night.

As I drove past one farm, I saw a wall of water overwhelm his bridge and it came pouring onto the road I was driving, I drove really fast through another overflowing creek that was gallopping along the other side of Plank Road. It was pretty scary. I called the State Troopers and the road was closed. At sunrise, everyone was out, looking over the damage and fixing it.
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The roadbed here was undermined. County and town trucks are lining up to drop off rock or spread it.
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Here they are, stopping the water from flowing on this side of the road. Normally, this is a shallow side ditch, slightly below the height of the road. It is now a huge stream bed.
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My neighbor's culvert, the road around it gone, boulders scattered about.

All over the planet, we are getting these wierd floods in places that normally don't flood. Global warming picked up in the 19th century and has only accelerated since except for odd years when volcanic eruptions temporarily cool things off. Just before this huge rain, 7-10" are very rare out here, wells were going dry, the forest was dropping leaves rapidly despite the warm temperatures because it was so dry. We desperately needed rain. But this all or none stuff is characteristic of the equatorial belts, not northern climates. Europe has had floods/droughts simultaneously this year, too. We can understand a dry year here and there but the droughts this year were in many of the temperate regions all at once.

It was an exciting day, the people responsible for the community had little sleep last night as one alarm after another sounded but we lost no one unlike the people in Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador, over 650 dead in mudslides and flooding from Hurricane Stan! And in the Kashmir region, now over 30,000 dead!

Life is very interesting. Many small quakes on the San Andreas/subsidiary fault lines in California. You know that one is just aching to blow.

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