Storm Damage, how can we make sense of it all? Repairs are in progress, mostly.

Looking out one window to the North this morning all I saw was a blue sky with a few clouds mingled in, I told Skunkpuppy it looks like the rain let up. As I climbed higher on the ever-expanding flight of stairs gazing west from another window the sky was ominous, dark and foreboding. After reaching the pinnacle the window to the west exposed a view of impending rain on the way, a southerly wind confirmed it would rain. Our rain wind is from the South, I’m not a meteorologist so I don’t understand exactly why, the prevailing wind is from the Northwest. The wind direction is a good predictor most of the time, yesterday afternoon was an exception, rain arrived on the prevailing breeze. My weather station displayed 49 F. (9.44 C) so I took my coffee to the waterside porch, it was a nice morning. I will not complain about the weather here, the last time I did my relatives living in the North set me straight. My older brothers’ comment “You don’t have to shovel sunshine or rain”, yep and I don’t need a 4 wheel drive to go to the grocery store either. All we get is rain in good amounts about every 5 years, sprinkles in between.

green grass field during sunset
Photo by David Jakab on

There is no average snowfall here but the T.V. weathermen continue to make reference to the average, or normal. I don’t see either being an effective way to compare the level from year to year due to the continual drought cycle. Saying that I am unable to come up with a better choice of words, perhaps the definition of average and normal could be expanded to include the Western situation. Including a longer period of time may be a better way to address it, an average of 100 or more years would make more sense. I take exception to several words “veggies, and yummy” are two and the third is “Hero”. The first two are just peeves of mine and the latter is overused in my opinion.

I went off topic in the preceding paragraph it doesn’t do much damage to the article so I decided to leave it in, unbelievably I am a student of grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.

The rain continues we need it, there can be too much but we haven’t reached that level yet as long as it doesn’t warm up and melt all of the snow at once. A sudden melt would cause more mudslides, flooding, and an abnormal amount of water going to the ocean. Steady rainfall creates an unpredictable situation as well. The slow steady precipitation saturates the already soaked terra firma making slopes and mountainsides unstable. Highway 1 along the ocean passes through Big Sur a scenic and slow drive, it’s the division between Northern and Southern California. Mud Creek experienced a major slide during last years rainy season, the road was buried in mud. Cat-trans made a decision to build the roadway up versus removing all of the debris and soil. Hauling in truckloads of soil took the place of constructing a bridge over the affected area, unfortunately, it will take a few years for the repair to compact itself using the weight of the mass. Settle it did and in the process it formed a large crack running caddy wankus across the asphalt. Predictively closing the roadway down until at least Sunday, March 10, 2019 repairs will be made over the weekend. There is not another way to deal with the road moving on top of the earthworks, the shifting is predicted to stop in a few years. As long as Cal-Trans keeps an eye on it things will be fine, (I’d like to add I hope but I won’t place that curse on it).

The repair at Mud Creek on Highway 1.

The largest repair made after last years deluge was the spillway on the Oroville Dam, a 2 billion dollar project it has been dubbed as a mega-project. Rightfully so it was a big job and like the Mud Creek repair, the job was completed on schedule in a timely manner. Trial by fire is in store for the repair, it looks good and is not expected to shift like a road on a cliff will, but all eyes will be on it when water is sent over it. The population of Oroville will have a substantial presence when the gates are opened, I imagine it will be all over the airwaves. Evacuation of an entire mid-size city is not an easy task but the organizers or last years grand exit, in my opinion, performed well. Another major repair on Highway 1 the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge was replaced.

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge rebuild is another project that was well managed and completed in a reasonable amount of time. No one was on the bridge when it was wiped out by the high flow of water below it. The location of the structure created a treacherous job that had to be performed by highly skilled workers. The bridge was opened allowing 35 miles of scenic Highway 1 to traffic on October 17, 2017.

Wildfire burned cities are still suffering, adding misery to the situation is the rain, they have received a lot of it this year. Cleanup continued where the Campfire roared through but the mud didn’t wait for it to be completed. Southern California is suffering the same situation, they have received more rain than the North, it’s not a good situation. Replacing a house after total destruction takes two years during the best of times, being displaced for that extended length of time has got to be unnerving.

Disasters are not rankable they are all terrible, the loss of life is the most devastating result of the Catastrophes’. Unfolding before our eyes now are the Tornadoes ravaging Alabama during the past two weeks. That is not an area normally suffering the twisters without a Hurricane as a lead-in, I imagine the victims were not prepared for them. They came swooping in much like the wildfires of two years ago did here not giving any kind of a warning giving people minutes to react, I know it had to be terrorizing. Extreme sadness after the destruction, some families lost many members, good friends will never see one another again. Massive cleanup followed with rebuilding will take a long time, some will take years. From all accounts more are possible, an unpredictable nightmare.


Cleaning up the destruction presents it’s own issues as well. Soaked with water from rain or in the case of Northern California flood water when the temperature rises mold forms. Our stuff rots rapidly it mixes with hazardous waste and attracts vermin it must be removed in a timely manner. Disposing of the debris is expensive, how who, and when become challenges as well. Many of the affected towns have limited resources making it impossible for them to finance the entire operation. Federal and State assistance is available if the event is declared a disaster, only then will they be qualified for help.

More Catastrophes will occur this year causing many billions of dollars of damage, some insurers have ceased offering insurance to homeowners in fire-prone areas. Due to the excessive amounts of snow in the North, this flood season will be devastating, the entire length of the Mississippi River Valley will be under water. More emergency relief will be in order, expect the worst and hope for the best is one way to think of it. All of the disasters have the potential of bankrupting the country, I predict not only will insurance be a hot topic but emergency funds will be also.

Thanks for reading my blog, I ended going in a direction that was unintended doom and gloom which doesn’t play well in any venue. I’m not sure there is any way to address these emergency situations, I have a feeling in the future when an event occurs the lack of funding will dictate we all will be relied upon for cleaning all of the messes up. My heart is heavy for the victims of the Northern California Floods and those suffering in the aftermath of the Tornadoes in Alabama, they sure make me relize how good I have it, right now. Thanks again.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self-Reliance

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