Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Drought 2

Drought 2. I have noticed even in California where I live that rain just doesn't seem to fall much South of San Luis Obispo, California. Since I know the California Coast the best I can best speak about this. Also, I have to drive on family business to Santa Barbara and LA and further south at times at least once a month. So often, I will ask gas station attendants and friends and associates along the way about the weather. For example, In visiting my cousin in Orange County in February he said there had only been 3 inches of rain since June. By the way, normal would be 12 to 15 inches or more during the same time. As I drove away a bad fire had started. I said "Boy. It sure is unusual to have a fire this time of year." My Cousin said, "Not any more!" This made me very sad.

My God daughter who is from Monterey County like myself, called in a panic from San Diego County having never been through a major fire when the witch fire started in Rancho Santa Fe near her. I told her stories of fires in Glendale when I went to junior high and High School. We sat then in our back yard and watched the wealthiest people's homes burn that were up in the hills with a view. Many of my Junior high and High School friends houses burned down during the almost yearly fires back then in the early to mid 1960's. So I reassured my God Daughter that you don't ever want to be downwind of a fire not only because you can't breathe and may pass out from the smoke but also because you may get burned up. I told her always get out of the smoke to survive a fire in all ways. I told her it is like trying to survive a riptide in the ocean one must swim up or down the coast but never straight back to shore to survive. In the same way one survives most brush fires which also sometimes burn homes and structures the same way. I told her also to get a face mask or gas mask of some sort to filter the air when it gets really bad. I learned since then that the inside of the lungs of most people in San Diego and Los Angeles and Orange Counties is now black from the soot in the air of the fires and many might get other illnesses because of all the carcinogens in the air from burning cars and homes. I also saw a burned out cars melted aluminum wheels which looked like aluminum swords melted into the cement grooves. The most carcinogenic things that burned were likely synthetic fibers in carpets and the interiors of cars and trucks.

Anyway, I'm digressing. The point I was originally trying to make is that the drought is not only in the Southeast but extends all the way to California. I would say it is full drought below San Luis Obispo, California, partial drought up to Cottage grove and Portland, Oregon and I'm not entirely sure what is going on north of that. However, I did notice last summer that it was raining in Vancouver, Canada where I was visiting all the way down through Portland and it suddenly stopped before Cottage Grove, Oregon much like a service station attendant had been despairing about while I was on my way up to Vancouver last summer.

Living on the Coast of California we have places like Santa Barbara which has the biggest desalinization plant in the United States. If east or west coast municipalities want to learn how to desalinize ocean water in a big way visit Santa Barbara, California. Southern California has always been semi arid. To translate that for you it means that most of southern California is near a desert or on the edge of a desert. Having lived on the California coast most of my life if you travel inland more than 50 to 100 miles you will hit desert until you travel north to places like Bakersfield and the Sacramento Valley. Once you get to the Sacramento Valley you get some of the best farm land on earth for about 3 hundred miles further north and weather that allows often 4 crops a year. For the best soil on earth you go to the Salinas Valley in Central California which I believe allows at least 3 crops a year.

However, at least for now southern California doesn't have the water problem the Southeast does at least for now. This could change very soon depending upon what happens next. But for now there are canals from northern California that have been there for over 30 years or more that permanently take water from northern California and ship it through the canals to Southern California. Also, water from the Colorado River supplies a lot of water to the Southern California coast. Since over half the population of California is in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties in the south they can vote pretty much whatever they want from northern California's resources. This has upset some Northern California residents so much they have threatened to Secede into the State of Jefferson from California so they have more control of their resources. I imagine this sentiment might increase in the next 20 to 30 years of Global weather changes and droughts.

So in California we now have water for our homes and houses but none for the parched countryside. So people might have enough water to wet their homes or shrubs or trees but if the countryside goes up in flame that may or may not help. The new San Diego County building regulations requiring fireproof houses only to be built I think is an excellent idea. So I guess what I'm trying to get at is all the Southern United States are together in this and we should find ways to survive this and share ways to survive this just like neighbors in the U.S. always have.

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