atmospheric river

The current flooding rivers in the Pacific Northwest (1) now are ascribed to an atmospheric river. Atmospheric rivers are long narrow weather regions that carry enormous amounts of moisture from the tropics in the sky. This sky river carries water vapor and moves with the weather, “carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River.”(2) When they make landfall, they can release the water in the form of rain or snow.

They can stall over watersheds and release huge amounts of wind and rain and cause severe flooding. The atmospheric river from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest is called the “Pineapple Express”. “On average, about 30-50% of annual precipitation on the West Coast occurs in just a few AR events and contributes to the water supply and flooding.”(2) An atmospheric river is approximately 250-375 miles wide.

“Not all atmospheric rivers cause damage; most are weak systems that often provide beneficial rain or snow that is crucial to the water supply.”(2) If it were colder we would have an amazing snow pack right now.

The bomb cyclone that came through a few weeks ago caused much less damage. An atmospheric river does not sound as dramatic, but the drone pictures of houses and cars deep in water (1) tell a different story. There is road and bridge damage and already talk of Thanksgiving travel disrupted.

(1) https://www.accuweather.com/en/winter-weather/pineapple-express-pummels-northwest-british-columbia/1047699

(2) https://www.noaa.gov/stories/what-are-atmospheric-rivers

(3) Meanwhile the Olympic Peninsula still has a section cut off: https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/flooded-roadways-cut-off-west-end/

The photographs are of the Sol Duc River, taken by a friend. The river rising and huge amounts of debris being carried down the river. The huge log in the earlier pictures that was on the other side of the river, is gone.

Sol Duc River Tuesday Oct 26, 2021
Sol Duc River Sunday November 7, 2021
Sol Duc River Sunday November 14, 2021

Next is the heading photograph, from Monday, November 15, 2021.

Sol Duc River Monday November 15, 2021. Carrying whole trees downriver.
Rialto Beach with all of the wood washed down the rivers, November 16, 2021.

Under the weather

It is November and in the Pacific Northwest it’s hard not to feel under the weather because the clouds are right over our heads. Or some mornings I open the door and my house is in the cloud. In the weather. Is that a saying too? In the hurricane, in the cyclone, in a storm. Some days I feel like I can reach up and touch the underside of the low hanging cloud. Some days it feels heavy, but others it feels safe. Hiding, hidden, invisible.

For today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt: under the weather.

we would have seen

Yesterday Rialto Beach was blocked off.

The forest service blocked it off because of the bomb cyclone. The winds are driving the waves way up the beach. The dead trees get thown around like tinker toys.

We would have seen how high the water had come if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have seen the corpse of a seal, washed up on the beach, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have seen a soaking wet life jacket, just there on the beach, my size, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have had to walk in over a mile and back, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have wondered if the life jacket fell off a boat and we would have been glad not to find a body, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have met a couple who said that they only got to the viewpoint and were chased back by a Forest Service worker on a bicycle, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

We would have seen the confluence of the four rivers, rushing high, a seal fishing in the river and cormorants, if Rialto Beach was not blocked off.

But Realto Beach was blocked off to keep us safe. We are home and safe.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt, corpse.

The picture is not of Rialto Beach.

beach walk

My daughter is home and we went on a beach walk yesterday! The stupid oxygen keeps me from going fast. She went for a bike ride afterwards. Hooray!

Yesterday evening she brought up social distancing and how careful she should be. She has about 5 friends who are home that she is going to walk with. I am still wearing a mask over my oxygen tubing most places. She will unmask if they are vaccinated and they don’t have a cold or anything else. Even a cold would make me worse at this point. It makes me grumpy to be vulnerable, but I appreciate the discussion.