Yesterday, I posted about the lake effect snow storms afflicting several areas in the US, including western New York State just south of Buffalo. Sadly, there have been twelve deaths attributed to the storm so far. Because so many feet of snow are very heavy, there have been some roof collapses with more feared to come.
Some areas are still receiving additional snowfall. The forecast predicts a warm front with some rain arriving over the weekend. This has only heightened worries of more roof collapses as the rain adds weight to the feet of accumulated snow. People are trying to clean snow off roofs as quickly as possible, but the area is quite densely populated and many roads are still inaccessible for help and equipment to arrive.
The other very real threat is flooding. With temperatures predicted to climb to 60 degrees F. (15 degrees C.), the snow will melt rapidly and street and small stream flooding is most likely unavoidable.
All brought to you by global warming. Remember, even though this is a cold weather event, it was started by a tropical typhoon.
Three years ago, our home was still without power after the flooding caused by the ten inches of rain from tropical storm Lee, falling on ground already saturated by hurricane Irene a few days before. Standing water from the flooding was two blocks away. Flooded basements were a block away. If we had not had a generator to keep our sump pump going, we would have wound up with at least several inches of water in our basement. It was a record flood of the Susquehanna in our town and the tributary creek behind our house nearly overtopped the flood wall that is designed to direct the water to the undeveloped flood plain on the other bank.
There are segments on the local news about the anniversary and saying that the area is almost recovered, glossing over the fact that property buyouts only became available to people in local towns after hurricane Sandy devastated the coast. Demolitions only began in earnest this spring and are still continuing.
There will be no recovery for those who left the area permanently after longtime homes were destroyed. Some businesses closed permanently in the aftermath. Only some of the infrastructure repairs hae been completed.
One of the more disturbing elements of the situation is that there has been little to no preparation for the next severe flooding event which is sure to come with the increased threat of heavy rain that goes along with global warming. We should be restoring wetlands along the river and its tributaries and re-designing our storm drainage and sewage systems which caused so much trouble in the last two record floods that have occurred in the last ten years. Work also needs to be done with our water system and electrical system to make them more robust in emergencies.
Yes, it is expensive to do these things, but more expensive not to do them and to be cleaning up and rebuilding – again – after the next flood.
Personal note: I haven’t been posting much lately because I managed to get pretty sick. I’m finally bouncing back and hope to have a few more posts out over the next week. Fingers crossed.