The recent arrival of Hurricane Harvey is somewhat personal for me. Early Friday morning, before it made landfall, radar course projections showed it heading right for my home. Since I only live 90 miles inland, we would have been hit hard by the 130 plus mile-per-hour winds and torrential rainfall.
But Harvey made a course change just before landfall and passed north of our home, leaving us safe.
But that doesn’t mean that Harvey was safe by any means.
Unless you live in Texas, you may not have noticed that San Antonio, the state’s second largest city, flooded once again last week. While any flood is an aberration, the city of San Antonio is known for them.
While large parts of the state are known for being arid, the farther east you go, the more rainfall there is. San Antonio is kind of in the middle, but still receives more than its fair share of flooding.
This latest flood ends a period of drought that has plagued central and southern Texas all year long. Its sudden, unexpected arrival reminds us all of the high danger from flooding that large parts of the nation regularly face.
Flash floods can occur at any time, even when there is not any rainfall, all the way to the visible horizon.
Imagine waking up one morning, to find that your home, which you thought was safe, was in fact, is in danger. Not just a little danger, either; but one which could destroy your home, wiping it off the face of the Earth. What do you do?
That’s the situation which has faced almost 200,000 people in Northern California, as the risk of flooding from the Oroville Dam and Reservoir is increasing. An unusually wet winter has led to the reservoir reaching dangerously high levels.
Erosion damaged the primary spillway, as a 200 foot long, 35 foot wide hole formed in the bottom. Closing this spillway merely caused the water to rise even higher, overflowing the emergency spillway.
We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t drive across flooded roads or stay when you’re told to evacuate, but what about after the water recedes? You just go back in, clean up the debris, and start living again, right?
Well, no. Flood waters are full of disease-carrying bugs, and there are other dangers after floods you need to know about, too.