Oh, My! It's Dry!
But nowhere near as dry as the national news is saying about my own community today!
I live in exactly the county highlighted in one of today’s news articles about extreme drought, which is photographed above. Does that valley near my home look unusually dry to you? The great emergency the article describes is wells running dry due to low rivers and low aquifers (fed mostly by the river this time of year but also by rain). What we really have in this case is a drought of truth.
What the article doesn’t say is that the county I live in has experienced a decade of wells running dry, not due to drought, but due to overbuilding. One of the towns mentioned in the story behind the story (also added to the headlines below) is a rural town that is dependent on the main river that runs through the county (mentioned in particular in the article) and on wells for its water. I also live almost right on that river. As the county has stacked in THOUSANDS of new homes in that exact area, the town’s water system has proven inadequate every year. People I know have dug their wells deeper to compete for the increasingly scarce water and then got in trouble for doing so.
We live with water dripping off our noses 364 days a year in this county, but wells have increasingly become a matter of political tension as the county piles in development upon development and tries to shut down irrigation to make room for yet more development. Ostensibly, the well restrictions are to save the salmon; but, if that were true, they’d curtail the rapid development and stop issuing all permits for new deep wells by developers and cities that seem to want to grow. Money rules.
Just this Monday, I had a candidate for county council stop by my door. I asked him his primary reason for running. “To save our heritage,” he said. He lives in the farming part of the county and said he is bothered by the state Dept. of Ecology (also mentioned in the local newspaper article that forms the basis for the main article that has been circulating around the nation). His main issue was Ecology’s wresting of control over water rights from longtime land owners. Ecology is constantly trying to take away the water rights farmers (like him) and others have had for a century, literally drying up their heritage. (In part, it seems, to make room for more of their California buddies to flood into the state.)
It is all about development, and has nothing to do with drought. The same problem floods our politics when water is flooding the cornfields in the winter AS IT ALWAYS DOES. Just two years ago, this river had one of its worst floods in recorded history. Two years before that, we had another extreme flood. Many recent years, we’ve had record snowpacks that are the basis for those floods. Back in 2012, they didn’t even open the highest roads in the mountains because they were still twelve feet under snow at the end of summer. Just two days ago, I drove over the river mentioned in the article, by the way, and commented to myself (with no idea I’d be reading and writing about this today), “The river looks a little higher than usual for this time of year.”
The article mentions unusual snow melt as causing the river to run low, which clearly the river is not doing. Yes, there is unusual snowmelt because this year has been a little drier and warmer than usual (but not a lot). That is why I checked the river as I drove over it and why the river actually looked a little high. That is also why I looked up to the nearby mountains at the same time to see how they were holding up to the snowmelt. I figured, for the river to be running higher than usual during a somewhat dry and warm year, it must be getting a lot of snow melt still from the mountains.
The mountains, I noted to myself, looked like they had the normal amount of snow on them for this time of year. (Something I have many decades of watching and checking as a matter of personal interest and curiosity.) How could that be with a warmer than usual year, causing extra snowmelt? Well, it was a snowier than usual year in the mountains this past winter. So, while the river is still running what appears to be a little above normal for late July due to all the snowmelt (not rain, as we haven’t had the normal amount of rain), there was ample snow to offset that.
Now, should it continue to be drier and warmer than normal, that might become a problem late in the summer, as it occasionally has throughout my life. When that happens, local communities sometimes place watering restrictions on households for lawns. I can tell you that I just set my irrigation this past weekend to run a little longer than usual due to the somewhat drier, warmer weather, and I was able to do that because there have been no watering restrictions, nor any talk of watering restrictions so far. My community, too, gets its water from the river and from wells (has no reservoir just like the other community).
I can also tell you that the weather changed dramatically yesterday to such an extent that I shut the irrigation off completely. Temps dropped by ten degrees, and it began raining yesterday morning, and it is still raining this morning. “Climate-change” drought over, I guess. So, is this really the “drought emergency” the news and the state’s Dept. of Ecology have declared, or is it just one more instance of Governor Jay Inslee and his favorite state department (Ecology) leveraging the weather to gain more power over water rights and to score more political global-warming points that are popular with Inslee’s constituency in this very liberal state that is primarily governed by larger cites like Seattle? I’ll note that Gov. Inslee ran in the last presidential primary as a major loser against Biden because he based his entire campaign on fighting global warming. He was one of the first to go. Most of America wasn’t interested in such a one-track candidate. That is how obsessed he is with gaining control over anything related in any way to weather.
I’ll also note that he was one of the most power-hungry, authoritarian governors in the nation during Covid — creating far more mandates than most governors did with forced vaccination for government employees and schools, social distancing, masking, barring people without vaccine certification from most public events and establishments for over a year, and throttling down how many people restaurants could have to the point of causing numerous restaurants to go out of business. He loves (CRAVES!) the power of big-brother government over people.
So, when you read the other stories in the headlines today about extreme weather, take this one in regard as to how hyped up they may be. I’m not saying it is not much hotter than usual. It probably is, but look at the article about Arizona where they talk about more people who fall on the ground getting extreme, even life-threatening, burns than ever before. They must mean falling on the black, tarry asphalt, I said to myself. You can fry eggs on Arizona asphalt at some point every summer. If it will fry an egg, it will fry you, too. Sure enough, reading the article deeper, it mentioned that concrete isn’t much of a problem, but asphalt is.
Moreover, it admitted most areas in the nation are not seeing more than then normal numbers of burn victims from people falling on the ground. And, most of note, it said that those who got life-threatening burns from falling on the ground in AZ had been lying on the ground with bare skin for 10-20 minutes! Well, I guarantee you that, if you fall on asphalt hot enough to fry an egg in the southern summertime because you lose consciousness during a heat wave or because you’re drunk or stoned or whatever the reason so that you lie there unconscious for twenty minutes, you are going to be one sadly well-cooked human being! They will smell you sizzling away down the road.
While I do think the weather is hotter than normal, what I find even more interesting is how intensely the mainstream media is fanning the flames in these stories in every single instance with paragraphs stating it is due to “human-caused climate change.”
Now, once I finish this article, I think I’ll take a little drive over the river to see if it has finally gone down to normal levels (having appeared above normal for the last month to me) or if the recent rain has put it even further above normal than it was two days ago. Don’t be so liberal that you cannot enjoy your summer! I think I’ll go eat meat, too, before the cows all die because their wells are shut down so their corn fodder and drinking water all dry out as per Inslee’s apparent plan.
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