ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

thelivyjr
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

"California wells run dry as drought depletes groundwater"


By TERRY CHEA, Associated Press

4 OCTOBER 2022

FAIRMEAD, Calif. (AP) — As California's drought deepens, Elaine Moore’s family is running out of an increasingly precious resource: water.

The Central Valley almond growers had two wells go dry this summer.


Two of her adult children are now getting water from a new well the family drilled after the old one went dry last year.

She’s even supplying water to a neighbor whose well dried up.

“It’s been so dry this last year."

"We didn’t get much rain."

"We didn’t get much snowpack,” Moore said, standing next to a dry well on her property in Chowchilla, California.

"Everybody’s very careful with what water they’re using."

"In fact, my granddaughter is emptying the kids' little pool to flush the toilets.”

Amid a megadrought plaguing the American West, more rural communities are losing access to groundwater as heavy pumping depletes underground aquifers that aren’t being replenished by rain and snow.

More than 1,200 wells have run dry this year statewide, a nearly 50% increase over the same period last year, according to the California Department of Water Resources.


By contrast, fewer than 100 dry wells were reported annually in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The groundwater crisis is most severe in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, which exports fruits, vegetables and nuts around the world.

Shrinking groundwater supplies reflect the severity of California’s drought, which is now entering its fourth year.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 94% of the state is in severe, extreme or exceptional drought.

California just experienced its three driest years on record, and state water officials said Monday they’re preparing for another dry year because the weather phenomenon known as La Nina is expected to occur for the third consecutive year.

Farmers are getting little surface water from the state’s depleted reservoirs, so they’re pumping more groundwater to irrigate their crops.

That’s causing water tables to drop across California.

State data shows that 64% of wells are at below-normal water levels.


Water shortages are already reducing the region’s agricultural production as farmers are forced to fallow fields and let orchards wither.

An estimated 531,00 acres (215,000 hectares) of farmland went unplanted this year because of a lack of irrigation water, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As climate change brings hotter temperatures and more severe droughts, cities and states around the world are facing water shortages as lakes and rivers dry up.

Many communities are pumping more groundwater and depleting aquifers at an alarming pace.

“This is a key challenge not just for California, but for communities across the West moving forward in adapting to climate change,” said Andrew Ayres, a water researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Madera County, north of Fresno, has been hit particularly hard because it relies heavily on groundwater.

The county has reported about 430 dry wells so far this year.

In recent years, the county has seen the rapid expansion of thirsty almond and pistachio orchards that are typically irrigated by agricultural wells that run deeper than domestic wells.

“The bigger straw is going to suck the water from right beneath the little straw,” said Madeline Harris, a policy manager with the advocacy group Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability.

She stood next to a municipal well that’s run dry in Fairmead, a town of 1,200 surrounded by nut orchards.

“Municipal wells like this one are being put at risk and are going dry because of the groundwater overdraft problems from agriculture,” Harris said.

“There are families who don’t have access to running water right now because they have dry domestic wells.”

Residents with dry wells can get help from a state program that provides bottled water as well as storage tanks regularly filled by water delivery trucks.

The state also provides money to replace dry wells, but there’s a long wait to get a new one.

Not everyone is getting assistance.

Thomas Chairez said his Fairmead property, which he rents to a family of eight, used to get water from his neighbor’s well.

But when it went dry two years ago, his tenants lost access to running water.

Chairez is trying to get the county to provide a storage tank and water delivery service.

For now, his tenants have to fill up 5-gallon (19-liter) buckets at a friend’s home and transport water by car each day.

They use the water to cook and take showers.

They have portable toilets in the backyard.

“They’re surviving,” Chairez said. “In Mexico, I used to do that."

"I used to carry two buckets myself from far away."

"So we got to survive somehow."

"This is an emergency.”

Well drillers are in high demand as water pumps stop working across the San Joaquin Valley.

Ethan Bowles and his colleagues were recently drilling a new well at a ranch house in the Madera Ranchos neighborhood, where many wells have gone dry this year.

“It’s been almost nonstop phone calls just due to the water table dropping constantly,” said Bowles, who works for Chowchilla-based Drew and Hefner Well Drilling.

“Most residents have had their wells for many years and all of a sudden the water stops flowing.”

His company must now drill down 500 and 600 feet (152 to 183 meters) to get clients a steady supply of groundwater.

That’s a couple hundred feet deeper than older wells.

“The wells just have to go deeper," Bowles said.

“You have to hit a different aquifer and get them a different part of that water table so they can actually have fresh water for their house."

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to slow a frenzy of well-drilling over the past few years.

The temporary measure prohibits local agencies from issuing permits for new wells that could harm nearby wells or structures.

California’s groundwater troubles come as local agencies seek to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2014 to prevent groundwater overpumping during the last drought.

The law requires regional agencies to manage their aquifers sustainably by 2042.

Water experts believe the law will lead to more sustainable groundwater supplies over the next two decades, but the road will be bumpy.

The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that about 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of agricultural land, about 10% of the current total, will have to come out of production over the next two decades.

“These communities are going to be impacted from drinking water supplies and loss of jobs," said Isaya Kisekka, a groundwater expert at the University of California, Davis.

“There’s a lot of migration of farmworkers as this land gets fallowed."

Farmers and residents in the Valley are hoping for help from above.

“Hopefully we get a lot of rain,” Chairez said.

“There’s a big need: water."

"We need water, water, water.”
___

Follow Terry Chea on Twitter: @terrychea
___

The Associated Press receives support from the Walton Family Foundation for coverage of water and environmental policy. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s environmental coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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thelivyjr
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE WASHINGTON POST

"A California city’s water supply is expected to run out in two months"


Josh Partlow

10 OCTOBER 2022

COALINGA, Calif. — The residents of this sun-scorched city feel California’s endless drought when the dust lifts off the brown hills and flings grit into their living rooms.

They see it when they drive past almond trees being ripped from the ground for lack of water and the new blinking sign at the corner of Elm and Cherry warning: “No watering front yard lawns.”


The fire chief noticed it when he tested hydrants in August — a rare occurrence as Coalinga desperately seeks to conserve water — and the first one shot out a foot-long block of compacted dirt.

The second one ejected like a can of Axe body spray.

The schools superintendent could only think drought on the first day of school when a 4-year-old fell onto unwatered turf, breaking an arm; or when the chain saws dropped three coastal redwoods outside Henry F. Bishop Elementary that had withered and died.

Superintendent Lori Villanueva even lost a portion of her own right lung last year from a drought-aggravated illness, valley fever, that’s caused by breathing soil fungus whipped up off the dry ground.

But what lies ahead might be far worse for the 17,000 residents living amid the oil derricks and cattle farms on the western edge of the state’s Central Valley.

Coalinga has only one source of water — a shrinking allotment from an aqueduct managed by the federal government — and officials are projecting the city will use up that amount before the end of the year.

That looming threat has left city officials racing between meetings in Sacramento and phone calls to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation seeking to increase their water supply.

Some residents have begun stockpiling five-gallon water jugs in their homes, while many expect major spikes in their water bills.

If Coalinga can’t find relief, it would be forced to buy additional water on the open market at exorbitant prices that could swamp the city’s budget.

‘The worst we’ve seen’: Ranchers threatened by historic heat and drought

That was the grim scenario facing Mayor Ron Ramsey when he rapped his knuckles on the table and cursed at a City Council meeting in early August.

Everyone but Ramsey had just voted to ban watering front yards and to ramp up penalties on overuse — measures they conceded would not save nearly what was needed.

But it was more than Ramsey could stomach.

“It’s too much."

"Too fast,” Ramsey told the room.

On top of that, he said, it wasn’t fair.

“Go to the state capitol and they got green grass, don’t they?” he said.

“They can do it, but why can’t we?”

Coalinga, named for its history as a coal mining town, is a small Republican outpost in liberal California.

The city had already defied state leadership in 2020, passing a resolution that declared all businesses essential to avoid mandatory pandemic closures.

When it was time for the state to distribute covid-19 relief funds to municipalities, Coalinga didn’t get any.

The water shortage felt to some like another kind of retaliation.

“How do you not give farmers water when they feed everybody unless you’re trying to put them out of business?” asked Scott Netherton, owner of Coalinga’s lone movie theater and executive director of its chamber of commerce.

“It feels like we’re being singled out, small towns,” he said.

“It’s like they’re trying to force them out to where you’ve got to move into the bigger cities.”

Coalinga’s brackish groundwater has never been a reliable option.

Before a canal was completed in the early 1970s that connected Coalinga to a major aqueduct, the city relied on water delivered by train.

After a 1983 earthquake that destroyed some 300 homes in town and spread concerns about water contamination, residents resorted to donations; Anheuser-Busch sent drinking water to Coalinga in beer cans and bottles.

But the drought has made residents question the very survival of their city.

“We’ve never been this bad where they said we’re going to run out of water,” Mayor Ramsey said.

A future with far less access to water

The most severe drought in the American West since the 9th century is now in its 23rd year.

All across the region, communities are confronting shortages worse than they have ever known.

The biggest reservoirs have fallen to record lows.

Whole neighborhoods have lost their water supply as wells have gone dry.

States along the dwindling Colorado River are negotiating water cuts that could bring dramatic disruptions to some of the country’s most important agricultural belts.

The hotter and drier climate has forced California and other states to reckon with a future in which they will have access to far less water, even as populations continue to grow.

In August, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) presented a 19-page plan to deal with the expected loss of 10 percent of the state’s water supply by 2040.

“The hots are getting a lot hotter."

"The dries are getting a lot drier,” Newsom told reporters at the time.

“We have to adapt to that new reality, and we have to change our approach.”

California started the year with its driest four months on record.

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada this year was a small fraction of the historical average.

Depleted reservoirs have led to restrictions on outdoor watering for millions of state residents.

Coalinga’s water comes from the San Luis Reservoir, about 90 miles to the north, and is delivered along a portion of the California Aqueduct that was built in the 1960s and helped fuel the region’s agricultural growth.

This is part of the Central Valley Project, a network of dams, reservoirs and canals now severely hobbled by drought.

‘Where there’s bodies, there’s treasure’: A hunt as Lake Mead shrinks

Farmers received no allocation from that network this year; municipalities and industrial users were limited to what the Bureau of Reclamation calculates as their “public health and safety” needs — a first in the history of the Central Valley Project, which dates to the 1930s.

For Coalinga, that meant 1,920 acre-feet of water — a quarter of its historic allotment and just over half of what it expected to consume this year.

Federal officials raised that in April to 2,500 acre-feet — a level that still fell more than 1,000 acre-feet short of what Coalinga needed.

An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, what it would take to cover an acre of land with one foot of water.

Over the summer, city officials calculated the city’s supply would run out by mid-September.

Beyond that point, if Coalinga kept using water from the aqueduct, it would belong to someone else.

“You don’t have the right to take that water,” was the message Sean Brewer, Coalinga’s assistant city manager, said he got from Reclamation officials.

The bureau said in a statement that it had been working closely with Coalinga on its “unique water supply circumstances and challenges.”

Brewer agreed that the bureau has been “extremely helpful” even as its “hands are tied.”

Federal officials gave him names of vendors who might sell the city the extra water it needed.

But as Brewer worked his way down the list of irrigation districts, farmers and other private interests, the news wasn’t good.

“Nobody has water to sell right now,” he said.

Those who do are not selling it cheap.

“I cringe when I say this,” Brewer told the City Council on Aug. 4, as he reported that water that normally cost the city $190 per acre-foot was being sold on the open market for as much as $2,500 per acre-foot.

The city might need up to $2.5 million to buy enough water to last the year, he said.

The city’s entire budget is $10 million.

“We just don’t have $2.5 million to buy water,” City Council member Adam Adkisson said in an interview, calling the water prices “criminal.”

“In a natural disaster, you can’t increase the cost of bottled water 2,000 percent; you’d go to jail for that,” he said.

“But somehow these people can increase it 2,000 percent and everything’s just fine.”

Fear of that kind of “drought profiteering” prompted state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D) to write Attorney General Merrick Garland in May asking for an investigation into the anti-competitive practices of hedge funds and other investors that “literally steal our most life dependent resource from ourselves and future generations in exchange for a profit.”

Hurtado talked to Adkisson in August as he was searching for a solution for Coalinga and found him “in panic mode.”

“The price of water, the cost of water, is increasing, but it’s not just going to be to the Central Valley; it’s going to be statewide,” Hurtado said.

“We’re in a crisis situation in a matter of weeks, I think.”

‘What do you do when the water runs out?’

In the High Times marijuana store — a burgeoning industry for Coalinga, which has two prominent dispensaries downtown and a pot farm run out of a defunct prison owned by Bob Marley’s son Damian — manager Luis Zamora is just starting to register a new level of concern about the water crisis.

“Just in the last probably two days, I’ve had people asking me, like, what do you do when the water runs out?”

He laughed.

“Exactly."

"What do you do?”

Coalinga has tried to get tough on water waste.

The city has code enforcers and even police officers patrolling for water violations.

The city put a moratorium on building swimming pools, raised water rates several times and last year began imposing “drought fees” for overuse.

But the city soon voted to refund the $277,000 it had raised in fees because water use wasn’t declining enough.

“It was supposed to be a deterrent,” said Netherton, the chamber of commerce’s executive director.

“It wasn’t deterring anybody.”

Zamora has been slowly stockpiling five-gallon water bottles at home — he’s up to nine of them.

He has stopped watering his lawn and watched as his neighbors’ yards have also turned brown.

But others’ lawns in town are still green, and residents are keenly aware who is still watering.

Facing a new climate reality, Southern California lawns could wither

“They encourage people to kind of rat each other out, out here,” Zamora said.

“So if you water, people will be taking pictures of you.”

“I’m watching your yard,” Mary Jones, a Coalinga resident, told Mayor Ramsey at an Aug. 18 City Council meeting.

Ramsey, who had by then accepted the ban on watering front lawns, resorted to spraying on his own remedy to keep his lawn looking nice.

“Hey, you know why mine’s green?” he asked Jones.

“I painted it.”

“I would paint mine, too, but it’s dirt,” she responded.

“I can’t fool anyone with dirt.”

A short-term reprieve

Coalinga’s two biggest water users sit next to each other on a lonely two-lane road several miles outside of town.

The Pleasant Valley State Prison and the Department of State Hospitals-Coalinga, a psychiatric hospital for sexually violent predators, together consume about 20 percent of the city’s water allocation.

And both institutions have told the city they can’t conserve more water than they already do.

Outside the psychiatric hospital, there is a long row of coastal redwoods that appear green and bushy, a landscaping flourish Coalinga residents view with increasing suspicion.

“Go look at our coastal redwoods in our medians; they’re all dead."

"The ones at the school?"

"Dead,” said Adkisson, the council member.

“I think there’s opportunities for them to conserve when it comes to landscaping.”

The hospital has operated under a drought plan for the past eight years.

The facility has removed most grass from “non-patient care areas,” has removed shrubs and plants, has resorted to controlled shower times, closely monitors leaks and “continues to make every effort” to use water efficiently, according to Ralph Montano, a spokesman for the Department of State Hospitals.

“Unfortunately, [the hospital’s] coastal redwoods are brown and dying from lack of water also,” Montano said in a statement.

The prison did not respond to requests for comment.

City officials argued that the burden of saving water on behalf of the two state-run institutions was unfairly being borne by residents.

In August, with Coalinga just weeks from running out of water, the Bureau of Reclamation responded by increasing the city’s allotment by 531 acre-feet “to assist with meeting public health and safety needs,” the bureau said in a statement.

But Coalinga officials say they are still about 600 acre-feet short and that buying additional supplies remains extremely expensive.

They now project they will run out of water sometime in early December.

When that happens, no one knows exactly what to expect.

“You don’t want to say that they’ll never turn the water off."

"I don’t see how they could,” Mayor Ramsey said.

“I hate to say this, but with the government we have right now, you never know.”

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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NBC NEWS

"16 dead after Buffalo area hit by ‘devastating’ snowstorm, governor says"


Story by Phil Helsel and Dennis Romero

26 DECEMBER 2022

Sixteen people have died after a freezing blizzard with high winds struck the Buffalo, New York, area in a storm that the state’s governor has described as “devastating.”

The dead have been found outside or in cars, and reports of even more deaths were being checked out Sunday night, Buffalo police said in a statement.


"Authorities have additional 911 calls regarding dead bodies that police are also working diligently to get to confirm and recover," the department said.

"BPD also is working very hard to complete welfare checks in an effort to reduce potential deaths."

The department 's storm-related death toll grew to 10 from six earlier Sunday.

Police recovered a total of four bodies and have confirmed there are at least six others, the department said.

Outside the city, in Erie County, an additional six weather-reported deaths have been reported.

The national figure for deaths related to the extreme holiday weather over the weekend was 46 by late Sunday, according to an NBC News tally.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference some of the dead were found after impassable roads delayed emergency responses.

The county's deaths, reported in Amherst and Cheektowaga, also included a person who was inside a structure, he said.

Others appeared to succumb to cardiac-related events while clearing snow, Poloncarz said.

Diving temperatures can constrict arteries and boost blood pressure, adding to the danger of manually clearing snow.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said at the same news conference that she has surveyed some of the damage: “It is devastating."

"It is going to a war zone."

"The vehicles along the sides of the roads are shocking.”

Buffalo was under a driving ban, and Mayor Byron W. Brown said police were asking people with snowmobiles to assist in search and recovery efforts.

Hochul said the scale of the storm will be worse than that of the famous blizzard of 1977 in its intensity and ferocity of the winds.

That storm was blamed in 29 deaths, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

State police were involved in over 500 rescues, Hochul said, including helping the elderly get to hospitals and delivering a baby.

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli confirmed two incidents of looting in the Buffalo area.

"They are still under investigation as we speak," he said during Sunday evening's news conference with the governor.

"Those are isolated incidents."

"It’s not reflective of the great community."

More than 13,000 customers in the state were without power early Monday, according to grid tracker PowerOutage.us.

Poloncarz said power might not be fully restored until Tuesday.

"Substations froze."

"They were snowed under."

"We had a report that one substation had an 18-foot drift onto it," he said.

"And when they got in the substation was frozen."

"They still don’t even know to the extent the damage that occurred in the substation."

Much of Buffalo is impassable, Poloncarz said.

He urged people from areas where conditions had improved not to travel to Buffalo to rescue family and friends.

Officials have rescued “hundreds and hundreds” of people, some of them with snowplows, as they were the only vehicles able to reach people stranded in cars, Hochul said.

“This will go down in history as the most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long, storied history of having battled many battles, many major storms,” she said Sunday.

By around 10 a.m., about 43 inches of snow — or more than 3½ feet — had fallen at Buffalo’s airport over the previous 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

There was a period of hours when officials could not send out emergency service crews or Department of Public Works crews, Poloncarz said.

It is believed to be the first time that Buffalo's Fire Department was unable to respond to calls, he said.

“It was bad is the best way to put it,” Poloncarz said.

“It was as bad as anyone has ever seen it.”

Utility company National Grid had said that because of the “unprecedented severity” of the storm, some crews could not reach the areas where they were needed.

The company had said Sunday that restoration work was being conducted around the clock.

Buffalo had been under blizzard warnings, but by Sunday afternoon it was under a winter storm warning until 4 a.m. Monday.

There could be 8 to 16 additional inches of snow in the region, which includes Buffalo, Batavia, Orchard Park and Springville, according to the National Weather Service.

The most snow was expected for the "southtowns" and southwest Erie County.

Officials pleaded with New Yorkers to stay home so crews can clear roads.

State Police Superintendent Steven Nigrelli said roadways were “peppered” with abandoned vehicles.

“Stay home."

"Be a good neighbor,” he said in a nod to Buffalo’s nickname as the “city of good neighbors.”

Most of the U.S. has been hammered by a major winter storm with dangerously low temperatures.

Last month areas south of Buffalo, like Orchard Park, got around 7 feet of snow.

But Poloncarz said the situations do not compare.

He said he has been in contact with the Biden administration to initiate a disaster declaration.

“This is a major disaster."

"It’s as simple as that,” he said.

“We’ve had other storms, the storms just four weeks ago that dumped 7 feet of snow on the southtowns," he said using the regional term for cities in the southern part of Erie County.

"They do not match up to this.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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REUTERS

"Storms inundate California, provoking mudslides, evacuations"


By Jorge Garcia

January 10, 2023

LA CONCHITA, Calif., Jan 10 (Reuters) - The latest Pacific storm unleashed torrential downpours and damaging winds in California on Tuesday, knocking out power and turning city streets into rivers as mudslides cut off highways and entire communities faced evacuation orders.

More than 33 million Californians were threatened by severe weather throughout the day as "heavy to excessive" rainfall was expected across the state, especially in southern California, as winds gusts were clocked at more than 40 miles (64 km) an hour in many places, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.


The high winds wreaked havoc on the power grid, knocking out electricity to 180,000 homes and businesses as of midday Tuesday, according to data from Poweroutage.us.

"This storm was different from the standpoint that it was here much longer."

"It was more intense because of the prior storm, the ground was much more saturated, which led to a lot more flooding and a lot more rescues because of the ground saturation," said Barry Parker, division chief of the Ventura County Fire Department.

Experts say the growing frequency and intensity of such storms, interspersed with extreme heat and dry spells, are symptoms of climate change.

Though the rain and snow will help replenish reservoirs and aquifers, a mere two weeks of precipitation will not solve two decades of drought.

Meanwhile, terrain denuded by past wildfires has created an increased risk of flash floods and mudslides.

The torrential rains, along with heavy snow in mountain areas, follow yet another "atmospheric river" of dense moisture funneled into California from the tropical Pacific, powered by sprawling low-pressure systems churning offshore.

With the soil already saturated, much of the damage has been concentrated around the city of Santa Barbara, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles, where the steep foothills slope toward the Pacific Ocean.

Several remote spots have reported more than a foot (30 cm) of rain including the San Marcos Pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara, where more than 17 inches (43 cm) have fallen, according to the NWS.

In the Rancho Oso area of the Santa Ynez Mountains, mud and debris across the roadway isolated about 400 people and 70 horses, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said on Twitter, posting a photo of a vehicle stuck in the mud.

Rescue teams were on the way, spokesperson Scott Safechuck said.

Near the coast, the California Highway Patrol closed U.S. 101, the main highway connecting northern and southern California, with no estimated time on reopening.

"Please stay home and do not drive today if at all possible," the highway patrol advised on Twitter, posting pictures of mudslides and fallen rock that blocked the highway.

Many communities were flooded including Goleta, where a man rode his paddleboard through the streets.

On Monday, officials ordered the evacuation of some 25,000 people, including the entire affluent enclave of Montecito near Santa Barbara, due to heightened flood and mudslide risks.

The 4,000 people of Planada, a community in Central California, started their Tuesday morning with an order to evacuate their homes by the county sheriff's office.

The Montecito evacuation zone was among 17 California regions where authorities worry the ongoing torrential downpours could unleash lethal cascades of mud, boulders and other debris in the hillsides.

Further south in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Chatsworth, two vehicles fell into a sinkhole that opened beneath a road.

Floodwaters invaded the train station in downtown Los Angeles, submerging a pedestrian walkway.

At least a dozen fatalities have been attributed to several back-to-back storms that have lashed California since Dec. 26.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Josie Kao

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/more-h ... 023-01-10/
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE EAST BAY TIMES

"Rainfall for the record books - Past 3 weeks the wettest in S.F. since 1862; Oakland already has reached yearly average rain total"


By Paul Rogers

progers@bayareanewsgroup.com

18 January 2023

How wet has it been recently in Northern California?

New rainfall totals show that no person alive has experienced a three-week period in the Bay Area as wet as these past 21 days.


The last time it happened, Abraham Lincoln was president.

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 15, 17 inches of rain fell in downtown San Francisco.

That’s the second-wettest three-week period at any time in San Francisco’s recorded history since daily records began in 1849 during the Gold Rush.

And it’s more than five times the city’s historical average of 3.1 inches over the same time.

The only three-week period that was wetter in San Francisco — often used as the benchmark for Bay Area weather because it has the oldest records — came during the Civil War when a drowning 23.01 inches fell from Jan. 5 to 25, 1862, during a landmark winter that became known as “The Great Flood of 1862.”

“The rainfall numbers over the past three weeks just kept adding up."

"They became a blur,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services in Half Moon Bay, who compiled the totals.

“We had a strong jet stream that was bringing in storms, one after another."

"It was hard along the way to separate the individual storms.”

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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The Daily Caller

"NOAA Throws Cold Water On Media Hysteria Over Earth’s ‘Three Hottest Days On Record’"


Story by Nick Pope

7 JULY 2023

Numerous corporate media outlets drove the narrative that July 3-5 was the hottest 72-hour stretch ever on record, citing a computer model from the University of Maine which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned is not as dependable as traditional observational data.

The New York Times, Fortune, Axios and CBS News each cited the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer computer model in various Thursday reports asserting that this week’s global temperatures broke the previous record for hottest three-day stretch.

The coverage came as NOAA said Thursday that the model’s findings are not a suitable substitute for observational data, since the model depends in part on unverifiable, computer-generated outputs, according to The Associated Press.

Axios’ Thursday headline asserted that “Earth sees three hottest days on record,” while The Times wrote in its Thursday story that “the past three days were quite likely the hottest in Earth’s modern history.”

CBS News ran a chyron on a Thursday television segment which read, “Earth sees third straight hottest day on record,” while the first half of Fortune’s Thursday headline stated that “Earth hits record heat third day in a row.”

“Although NOAA cannot validate the methodology or conclusion of the University of Maine analysis, we recognize that we are in a warm period due to climate change,” NOAA said, according to the AP.

The Reanalyzer uses observational data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and then calculates various global temperature estimates based on that data using its model, according to the Reanalyzer’s website.

The Reanalyzer’s model found that this week was the hottest week it has ever recorded.

NCEP is part of the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, according to the National Weather Service’s website.

“The situation we are witnessing now is the demonstration that climate change is out of control,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said of the heat, according to The Guardian.

“If we persist in delaying key measures that are needed, I think we are moving into a catastrophic situation, as the last two records in temperature demonstrates.”

NOAA, The New York Times, Fortune, Axios and CBS News did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topst ... 01d4&ei=13
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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REUTERS

"Torrential rains, floods hit US Northeast as officials warn of more to come"


By Brendan O'Brien and Rich Mckay

July 10, 2023

July 10 (Reuters) - Torrential downpours pounded the U.S. Northeast on Monday, threatening catastrophic flooding across the region, where rains have washed out roadways, overwhelmed rivers, forced numerous rescues by boat and caused at least one fatality, officials said.

More than 13 million Americans were under flood watches and warnings from Eastern New York state to Boston and Western Maine to the northeast, the National Weather Service said in its forecast Monday, after storms that began over the weekend inundated rivers and streams.

"Widespread, heavy rainfall capable of producing considerable to catastrophic flooding is beginning to unfold, road washouts are ongoing, and are expected to increase in extent and severity over the course of the day," the weather service said.

From Sunday to Monday, more than 8 inches (20 cm) of rain had fallen in Stormville, a small town just over 50 miles (80 km) northeast of New York City.

Parts of the Burlington, Vermont, area have seen 6 inches (15 cm) of rain, with 2 inches (5 cm) of downpours expected Monday afternoon.

More than 1,000 flights to and from airports across the region, including New York's LaGuardia and Boston's Logan, were delayed or canceled on Monday due to the rains.

Amtrak suspended passenger train service between the state capital Albany and New York City after flooding damaged tracks.

Amtrak shares some of that route's track with the Metro-North commuter railroad into New York, which suspended some service on that line and another.

The weather claimed the life of an Orange County, New York, woman, who was swept away by floodwaters as she tried to leave her home with her dog on Sunday, County Executive Steven Neuhaus, said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday.

"Last night was complete chaos," he said.

Neuhaus said first responders were trying to reach trapped people to make sure they are safe in Highland Falls and the West Point-Fort Montgomery area, which is along the Hudson River north of New York City and is home to the Army's U.S. Military Academy, best known as West Point.

"Many roads and bridges have been washed out," he said.

"So that's basically what our priority is today, to try to get to them and open up these major arteries."

Video footage and photos posted on social media showed washed-out roadways and raging floodwaters reaching houses on Sunday and early Monday morning.

"Oh my God."

"It's up to my knees," Melissa Roberts said in a video showing floodwaters rushing past her and several vehicles and up to homes in Orange County.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has issued states of emergency for that county and Ontario County to the northwest, and urged residents to watch the forecast closely throughout the day.

In Vermont, most of the New England state was at risk of life-threatening flash flooding on Monday, with forecasters saying up to an inch (2.5 cm) of rain an hour could fall during the day.

"This is an all-hands-on-deck" event, Vermont Governor Phil Scott said at a news conference, a day after declaring a state of emergency for Vermont.

He warned the worst might be ahead as the rainfall continues.

About two dozen state roads were closed as potentially deadly flooding spread across much of the state from the Massachusetts state line north to the Canadian border, Vermont State Police said.

In central Vermont, the weather service's Burlington office declared a flash flood emergency, advising that the area could see the worst flooding since Hurricane Irene hit the state in 2011, when 11 inches (28 cm) fell.

The rain had already turned many roads into raging rivers across the state, media reports said.

Early Monday, emergency crews in boats rescued about a dozen campers in Andover, said Jeannette Haight, the town's clerk.

"A bridge washed out, and that was the only way in or out," she said.

"The call for help went out at 4 a.m., and they set up a swift-boat rescue."

"Everyone is safe this morning."

More boat crews, including some from North Carolina, were on their way to Vermont to help with other rescues, according to emergency officials.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Ed Osmond and Jonathan Oatis

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/heavy- ... 023-07-10/
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REUTERS

"Vermont capital submerged in floodwaters with dam on verge of capacity"


By Brian Snyder and Brendan O'Brien

July 11, 2023

MONTPELIER, Vermont, July 11 (Reuters) - A Vermont reservoir threatened to overwhelm a dam protecting the state's capital on Tuesday and exacerbate "catastrophic" flooding that has already shut roadways leading out of town and trapped people in their homes.

The Wrightsville Dam, which forms a reservoir four miles (6.4 km) north of Montpelier, was nearing capacity and approaching the point at which a spillway would release water into the North Branch of the Winooski River, city officials said.

That would aggravate what the National Weather Service has called "catastrophic" flooding in Montpelier's picturesque downtown district, where people navigated the submerged streets in canoes and floodwaters reached the windows of businesses and the tops of vehicles.

The North Branch converges with a second, larger branch of the Winooski near the Vermont statehouse.

Downtown flooding was expected until late afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

The growing frequency and intensity of severe weather across the United States is symptomatic of global, human-driven climate change, climate scientists say.

While a Northeast state capital is under water, ocean temperatures have soared to as high as 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in Florida, Texas is sizzling under a heat dome, and California is bracing for temperatures as high as 120 F (49 C) in desert areas this weekend.

Much of the U.S. Northeast including parts of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut have already had as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain over the last several days.

"Make no mistake, the devastation and flooding we're experiencing across Vermont is historic and catastrophic," Vermont Governor Phil Scott said at a briefing Tuesday.

Montpelier City Manager William Fraser in a Facebook post urged the city's 8,000 people to be prepared to move to the upper floors of their homes as highway closures made evacuations difficult or impossible.

Mayor Jack McCullough told CNN the reservoir level appeared to stabilize about a foot (30 cm) below the overflow status for three hours.

"We take that to be a good sign because it indicates that it's not getting any worse."

"On a day like today, not getting any worse is something I will take," McCullough said.

Throughout the state, search teams have rescued 117 people from their homes and cars by swift boat, as officials fielded calls that even more people were trapped in their homes in remote areas, Mike Cannon, leader of the state's Urban Search and Rescue operation, told a briefing.

Vermont officials were calling the flooding the worst since Hurricane Irene reached the New England state as a tropical storm in 2011 and caused about $750 million in damages and seven deaths in the state.

The city's topography - bordered by hills with the downtown in a valley - increases the potential for flooding, Montpelier City Council member Conor Casey said.

"My wife and I live right on the river and it's about two feet from coming in the living room," Casey said.

"We're a bit used to it from Irene, so it's not totally foreign, but I think the scary thing is that it feels a bit worse so far."

Most of the crops at Boyd Family Farm in Wilmington, Vermont, were lost in the storm, said Janet Boyd, who owns the business along with her husband and son.

The farm, tucked in the southern end of the Green Mountains, has been in operation in the family for 80 years, and Boyd is worried about its future.

"We lost all the vegetables and only have our blueberries left," Boyd said, "all the greens, the tomatoes, the peppers, the garlic."

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Rachel Nostrant and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Bill Berkrot and Sandra Maler

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/vermon ... 023-07-11/
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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The Daily Mail

"Los Angeles braces for SIX MONTHS worth of rain in just THREE DAYS as second Pineapple Express winter storm looms: Here are the places expected to be hit the worst along the California coastline"


Story by Bethan Sexton For Dailymail.Com

4 FEBRUARY 2024

* Up to a foot of water could deluge parts of California over next few days

* Residents have been urged to prepare to evacuate before or during the storm

* About 13.5 million people are under a warning for 'excessive rainfall' by Monday


California is set to be lashed by up to six months worth of rainfall in just three days as the strongest atmospheric river storm of the season sweeps in.

Residents are being warned they may be evacuated as up to a foot of water deluges the golden state.

About 13.5 million are people due to be under alerts for 'excessive rainfall' on Monday.

Coastal areas are expected to be worst hit, but there is the potential for 'life-threatening floods' in all areas including highly populated urban areas such as Los Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

'Streams and small rivers, as well as the Los Angeles River through the San Fernando Valley and metro LA will rise quickly and turn into very dangerous raging rivers,' the body warned.

'Many roads will be impassable due to flooding.'

The storm is the result of the second Pineapple Express weather system to hit in the past week.

The alert has been issued for Sunday night into Monday, with residents urged to start preparing for possible evacuations during or 'even before the storm hits'.

However an area of low pressure will draw moisture in from late Saturday, before aiming the storm at California for several days.

'The last atmospheric river event that we went through, there was movement,' FOX Weather Meteorologist Britta Merwin said.

'This time there's going to be less movement, which means extreme rain totals.'

Everywhere in the state will experience some rainfall, but precipitation is forecast to be worst along a 300-mile stretch of coast as the storm spreads from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara south through Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Communities on the south-facing slopes of mountains and foothills are expected to receive the heaviest downpours, leaving them most vulnerable to potential flash floods, mud flows and landslides.

Hillsides and canyons scarred by recent wildfires are particularly prone to washouts.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles metro area could see five inches of rain or more on Sunday, with total up to 12 inches in the mountains.

Typically, Los Angeles receives around 14 inches of rain in a year.

'This is the type of rain that they cannot handle,' Merwin added.

'This is a guaranteed flood setup.'

'There's no way around it.'

'We know it's going to be bad, and there's going to be huge impacts.'

Forecasters are particularly concerned as the storm is due to land on already saturated ground following last week's downpours.

Thursday saw record-breaking amounts of rain soak Long Beach highways, including the busy I-710.

Los Angeles also set a daily record with 2.49 inches of rain.

Evacuation warnings were issued for areas of Santa Barbara County on Friday, which could be escalated to orders to leave if flooding becomes problematic.

Flash-flood watches were also in effect along a relatively narrow stretch of California's Central Coast, including Big Sur, extending north into the San Francisco Bay area.

High winds in those areas may prove to be a bigger factor than rain, said Daniel Swain, a meteorologist and climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

High Wind Warnings have been issued for the central California and southern California coasts toward Santa Barbara, and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gusts could reach up to 60mph along the shoreline and up to 50mph in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ski areas, on the other hand, were looking forward to a bonanza, as snowfalls measuring two to four feet are expected in the higher-elevation mountains, the NWS said.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topst ... cef5&ei=21
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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Reuters

"Atmospheric river pounds California but worst yet to come"


Story by Daniel Trotta and Maria Caspani

5 FEBRUARY 2024

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Reuters) -Heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds pounded much of California on Sunday, knocking out power for 900,000 customers and threatening serious floods as forecasters expect the storm to stall over major cities for the next day or two.

The storm is the second Pineapple Express weather system, or atmospheric river storm, to hit the state in the past week and arrived just as Los Angeles welcomed celebrities for the music industry's Grammy awards, where the red carpet was tented but other attendees were forced to slog through heavy rain in glitzy cocktail attire, some with only a handbag for an umbrella.

The severe conditions prompted the National Weather Service's (NWS) Bay Area office to issue a rare hurricane-force wind warning for Big Sur and nearby areas.

The rain canceled the final round of the professional golf tournament at Pebble Beach in Northern California's Monterey County.

Because heavy rain was forecast for Monday, the PGA Tour ended the event after only three days, naming Wyndham Clark the winner.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in eight counties with a combined population of more than 20 million people, and flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

"This has the potential to be a historic storm, severe winds, thunderstorms, and even brief tornadoes," Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told a news conference.

The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County were not only getting drenched but the storm was expected to stall or reverse course over some areas into Tuesday, creating severe risk of flooding and mudslides.

"The Monday evening commute is going to be a complete disaster to say the least."

"In fact, it's going to be bad enough that I would recommend everybody stay home in L.A. if we possibly can," Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, said in a live-stream on Sunday.

The NWS recorded peak wind gusts of 80 mph (129 kph) or higher in some places.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity on Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

Near Los Angeles, the port city of Long Beach could get more rain this week than it does during an entire year, said Mayor Rex Richardson, who is expecting 5-7 inches (13-18 cm) starting Sunday through Tuesday.

California's southern and central coasts are bracing for an inch of rain an hour and totals of 3-6 inches (7-15 cm), the U.S. National Weather Service said.

As much as 6-12 inches are expected in the foothills and lower-elevation mountains.

The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas were both at high risk for excessive rainfall on Sunday and Monday, with forecasters anticipating "near continuous rainfall" for 48 hours.

Evacuation orders were issued for some of those counties' residents, as well as people in the San Jose region, Ventura County and two areas of Los Angeles County that previously suffered wildfires, making the denuded terrain more vulnerable to mudslides.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani and Scott DiSavino in New York, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles, and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Chizu Nomiyama, Nick Zieminski amd Raju Gopalakrishnan)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/atmos ... r-BB1hMf5W
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