Sunday, June 5, 2011



Photo courtesy of my son, who snapped this with his phone about 4 pm Saturday.

That's 224 Highway in Lafayette County, Missouri, just 2 or 3 miles west of Lexington's city limits.  Between the trees on the left and the railroad tracks on the right, there's supposed to be a road.  All the rainfall we've had lately has made the Mighty Mo overflow her banks.  That's a common occurrence around here, although it's a bit late in the spring for that much flooding.  We got word last week that it will only get worse.  The Corps of Engineers is opening the Gavin's Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota a little bit at a time.  (Note that in this case, "little bit" is a relative term.)  That creates a slow and terrible domino effect of flooding for everything in the Missouri River basin down river from Yankton.  The Corps tells us that a slow release of water is better than a huge rush of water if the levees break.  That's probably true, but to me it sounds like the difference between being slapped around several times versus taking one hard punch to the face--either way, it's gonna hurt.  Lexington is situated on a bluff above the river, so the town itself won't flood.  Lafayette County is mostly farmland (the whole county has a population of less than 34,000) and those farmers are listening to the local radio reports and worrying that this might be the Flood of 1993 all over again.  I hope they're wrong, but the National Weather Service's flood warning for the county sounds grim:  "Record upstream reservoir releases have begun and will likely continue for the rest of the summer."  That tells me this won't be the last time I write about flooding. 


  1. Just the beginning of devastation, I fear. Living on the seacoast, I've been worried about rising sea levels over the next couple of decades, and hadn't expected climate change impacting major weather events, the interior of the country, food supplies, etc. to happen this soon.

    With the U.S. and most other countries doing nothing about the environment and greenhouse gases at record levels and rising, I think the planet has bought the farm. I feel so badly for the other species who had nothing to do with this but will suffer the consequences along with us.

    Just how catastrophic this will be - widespread suffering vs. the planet becoming unlivable like Venus, I dunno. Perhaps we will lose enough population so that it will be self-limiting.

  2. I live next to the sea, but we don't have the problem of flood. My town isn't on the same altitude as the sea, there is something like a 50-80 meters of difference. However here there is also a probability of flood if the sea level rises drastically.
    Mother nature isn't going to sit around silently any more. It really is unfortunate what happened in USA.

    moving services London

  3. Just to add to the gloom, at a certain point, this becomes self-reinforcing and unfixable.

  4. Well, I guess this is a further answer to my question last week.

    But for what it's worth, the meteorologists in the Midwest are saying that the actual problem isn't warming, it's an unusually cold weather pattern (resulting from a strong Pacific La Nina) disrupting the warmer air below. This affected the south first, and now as predicted the problem is moving northwards.

    The northern hemisphere, at least, has been much warmer at various times in the past than it is now, and those eras have been more prosperous than when it's generally cool. The big danger to human flourishing is global cooling, which produces short growing seasons, underdeveloped and rotting foodstuffs, pestilence, starvation, and all sorts of other nasty results. This current weather seems to indicate we may be in for such a period in the near future.

    Can we do anything about it? I don't know.

  5. There's no scientific evidence that I know of for global cooling in our current time. I'd appreciate a pointer to any research about that. There was slight cooling in the pre-1970s due to the effects of aerosols.

    You do see harsher winters in New England, for example, as the Siberian ice melt disrupts the wind flow, but that's part of the climate change due to the temperature rise.