Rain…rain…rain…glorious rain for drought-ridden California!
Our multi-year drought may well be coming to an end -- at least as far as surface water, streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, mountain snow packs are concerned.
Some experts say we shouldn’t be too optimistic, too soon. Not only do we depend on surface water, but underground are aquifers, some shallow, others extremely deep that fill more slowly. Our towns and cities are drawing increasing amounts of water from the aquifers, depleting them, due to more irrigation and industrial use.
They say some agricultural areas may never completely recover to pre-drought levels. Ground water will stay low leaving some wells stranded causing increased pumping costs for years and maybe decades.
There are even more long term effects on California’s forests which have been depleted of water. Warmer temperature trends continuing could permanently alter the ecology. Populations of native fish eliminated will need years to recover since their ecosystems have been altered by the drought.
We’re told we should think of California as a dry place with permanent water shortages. Landscaping designed to not require a lot of watering is needed. Conserving and not wasting water needs to be our way of life. Increasingly, this may be true in other states, too.
But rain is not wonderful for all .....
Snow welcomed in our Southern California mountains has seen a couple avalanches burying skiers ….
Hikers requiring helicopter rescues.
All this rain, which is predicted to continue through this month, in our normal rainy period, has brought disaster to many.
The drought all these years dried so much greenery.
Fires consumed more -- stripping ground cover from the mountainsides.
Mudslides ensued – threatening lives -- necessitating evacuations. Some homes destroyed – causing family heartbreak.
Huge old trees uprooted, falling on cars, homes, and even a few people, as tonight’s news reports a young girl found by her family under a fallen tree when she didn’t arrive at a neighbors to walk their dog. She's hospitalized in critical condition.
A few sink holes developed -- consuming houses or vehicles such as a van and car in last night’s news – but both drivers rescued.
Floods – sweeping cars away -- causing others to be stranded – needing rescuing.
Unfortunately, in all these events there have been some injuries and a few lives lost.
My immediate community has not incurred instances of high winds, water devastation, uprooted trees, as far as I know. Only ten minutes drive west, mud slides from fire-stripped mountain sides have been a concern for several years -- with every rain they have evacuation alerts.
More rain is coming that I welcome here, but I hope others are spared tragedy.