Jan. 21st, 2010

thesilversiren: (Default)
I admit it. I love the rain. As a kid, my summers were spent in Arizona, watching the monsoons pass through from the safety of my grandparent's formal living room. Any time that it rained and we were at school, my mom knew to bring towels for the car because my sister and I were guaranteed to be soaking wet after playing in either the rain or where it dripped off the school roofs. (I should note that other than playing in the rain, I wasn't the sort to play in the dirt)

I laugh when the news proclaims it STORMWATCH, and sends their pretty new reporters out all over LA, Ventura and Orange Counties to stand around in rain slickers with umbrellas and try not to blow away. Sometimes, we only get a tiny bit of rain and everyone looks silly. But other times...

So why do we tend to overreact when it rains? It usually only rains heavily every couple of years, which isn't enough for us to really become used to driving in the rain. Not only that, but with frequent droughts followed by torrential downpours (see: this week's weather), drains become overwhelmed, streets flood, sewage gets into the ocean, and of course... fire ravaged areas become risk for mudslides and collapse.

For every five evacuations that turn out to be unnecessary, there's one that did. My family spent a lot of time driving to Santa Barbara. On the way, we'd pass a small little town called La Conchita. Made up of probably about 175 houses and some businesses. All at the base of a foothill, just across the freeway from the beach. 1992, 1994 and 1995 were big years for rain in SoCal. El Nino years, they called them. In 1995, the hillside gave way above La Conchita and about 10 houses were destroyed- fortunately, nobody was killed. But houses were lost and homeowners were unable to retrieve anything because the hillside was unstable.

10 years later, the hillside fell again, swallowing up four blocks of La Conchita. This time, people weren't so lucky. 10 people died, most are still buried in the mud because the hillside is unstable.

Whenever I hear people brush off the evacuation warnings, I remember driving to Santa Barbara and seeing that houses were simply gone. Buried.

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thesilversiren

July 2011

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