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.
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.
Next is the heading photograph, from Monday, November 15, 2021.
We hiked part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal yesterday. It has rained tons in the last week, so the Potomac River is really really high and fast. The Billy Goat Trail is blocked off by the park service, partly flooded and not safe. My daughter pointed out how different the color of the fast river is than our Salish Sound.
It was a gorgeous day, sun, not very warm, birds, tow path and wild rushing river.
Beloved, thank you for these dirty dishes.
Thank you that I have hands to wash the dishes.
Thank you that I have water, clean water, hot water and soap.
Thank you that I have a sponge and a sink.
Thank you that I have a home, that it has not burned or flooded or been destroyed by war.
Thank you that I had food to feed my family and my self, to dirty these dishes.
Thank you that I have food to put on clean dishes today and tomorrow.
Please, Beloved, help me bring food to those who need it, clean water, soap, dishes, homes.
Please, Beloved, open our hearts to others in need.
Thank you, Beloved, for these dirty dishes that now are clean and for the circle of life they represent, clean to dirty to clean again.
The Olympic Peninsula only has one wild fire currently, but the sunset last night was lit by smoke.
Today’s prompt of monsoon makes me think both of the fires burning all over, California, eastern Washington, and of the floods in other places.
I took this on a vacation, two days on Herron Island. In the morning we were relaxed on the porch when I spotted smoke on the other side of the cabin. A lot of smoke. My friend explained that sometimes people burn slash, including tires. I was unreassured and insisted on going to look.
It was a house burning down.
The firetrucks must come from the mainland by ferry.
It was terrifying. I took this within 5 minutes of getting there, within 10 minutes of seeing smoke. There were oxygen tanks, live ammunition and propane, exploding.
At first we didn’t know if there was anyone inside. It was clear that we were not getting to them and that they were gone. The only person home had escaped, with the help of a neighbor on the other side. The house burned to the ground very quickly. I had our things loaded back in the car as soon as it was clear that the island responders were waiting for the fire trucks. This house was across the street and one door down.
Prayers for the flooded and the fires. Prayers for us to care for the earth and the earth to be gentle with us.
I wrote this after the tsunami in Japan. I was thinking about PTSD and triggers and being overwhelmed. And the flooding now in Texas….
I cry because
the laundry overflowed
the sewer blocked again
we might have to pull up the floor
and lay it down a third time
I hate the laundromat
water runs across the floor
as fast as the tsunami
crossing the fields
crushing the houses
catching the trucks
I cry because
I have to ask for help again
but the memories of asking
when it didn’t
help didn’t come
and I was abandoned or humiliated
rise up and overwhelm me
I am flooded
I am helpless
someone help those people
The shaking earth is bad enough
But the ocean rolling inland
Beams to toothpicks
Those are the memories that rise up
And flood me
I think of the soldiers
and victims of wars and disasters
Just my current journal and a pen and a coffee pot. But I am thinking of the people flooded in Houston and how they would like just a clean counter and a dry journal and a coffee pot with electricity.
Our house was flooded when my family first moved to Alexandria, Virginia. We were not in danger, but the water backed up and started pouring into our basement, full of boxes of books. First we rescued my mother’s etching press engine. It was so heavy we could barely get it up the stairs. Then boxes and boxes of books. I was fourteen and the water was cold and dirty and reached to the tops of my thighs.
We pulled everything we could upstairs and then emptied boxes. We had wet books everywhere and threw tons away.
We sat on the porch. The water was six inches deep in the middle of the road. The buses still ran, and a wave would come lap our steps every time one went by.
Prayers for the flooded people in Texas and the people in dire straights everywhere.
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