The Storm.

There is something about being on the river during high winds and heavy seas. That’s a Navy term for being in a storm. It’s grey, windy and a bit wet, not as much as on the weather reports but the rain is needed. Two of the best results of rain from my perspective is it has brought the wild fires under control and the amount falling in the Mountains may end the fire season. Along with helping control the fires the rain cleans the air, living in this climate during the summer is hot, windy and dusty. When combined with the smoke breathing is accompanied with the sniffles, sneezing and dryness of the eyes.

Now to toss a curve if this rain inspires the grasses to grow (I suspect it will) and it doesn’t rain for the remainder of the rainy season we may have a spring wildfire season; on the upside it would also curb the mudslides. Enough of the doom and gloom, the rain is nice.

During days like this the wind comes from the South West, opposite of the prevailing. Straining the trees from the opposite side at times causes some to topple over. There are two on my river side I think have the possibility of doing that. I don’t believe that will happen but one never knows. Most of the time the trees on the road fall into it across utility lines interrupting the service. There is one supply line servicing our three mile long road, we lose electrical, telephone and internet services all at once. I am confident we are not alone in that type of disruption. We have not lost service up to this time Sunday afternoon 4:30 pm. It’s the best argument to stay home, no one likes waiting for a mess to be cleared up for hours on the way home; it happens often here.

I enjoy looking out on the river as it flows past pushed by the high wind causing whitecaps when it exceeds 25 mph. Earlier today they were breaking over the top of all the docks, on occasion they break structures in need of repair loose. Docks are not the only floaters in the water during storms many boats have drifted up to all of the docks on the shore. Pieces of docks, trees, pylons and shore debris may be seen drifting past. The wind will break boats loose as well many small aluminum boats are blown around on the water soon to settle on the shoreline or next to a dock. Large boats will occasionally float past as well they have the capability of causing navigation issues when they enter the main river a few miles North. Luckily most of them do no harm drifting aimlessly until they meet up with a sandbar or some other obstruction.

The wind causes havoc with the Marinas as well at times ripping the boat barns apart. At the end of the road is one with that issue. In the past 10 years they have had three incidents when the wind exceeded 80mph and blew two docks apart. One has been destroyed twice, the last occurrence was January 2021. It is a large building when it was standing I would go past on my scooter thinking about its size. Then the wind blew it over the Levee and onto its roof where it crumbled apart. Several people pushed their wheelbarrows and shovels to the site with the intention of helping. I let a week pass to take a ride to take a look at the damage. The dock barn was big while it was standing but the rubble pile was absolutely Huge, with a capital H. It was amazing to me how much debris this catastrophe created, it was a mountain.

I always expect to see objects float past, some years more than others; so far this storm has caused no break-aways.

There was during the last high wind a month ago a fold a boat directly across the river lodged on the rocks. I stopped posting photos of drifted boats on the local Facebook page. When “is this you boat?” photo is posted someone will show up within 5 minutes to fetch it; it’s not the owner. The man that fetched the porta-boat was not the owner, I was watching him watching me. Later in the week I found it wedged between rocks. I had a canoe on my dock for 5 years waiting for the owner to claim it, he finally did.

We have rainfalls accompanied with high winds they together cause a few issues however the actual calamity is a combination of issues. Mudslides are nearly instantaneous when the soil gets wet, most of the Mountains are loosely packed shale the rain acts as a lubricant causing the rocks to slide. The roads are dry 7 months of the year vehicle lubricants drip on them collecting until the first rain which makes them slick as ice. The creeks have been nearly dry or dry since last spring collecting a lot of debris in the form of organic material. When the level rises all of it logs, trees and loose debris flow to the river. Crowding the rivers they become navigation hazards. It’s not the storms so much as what it creates which will take at least a month to come to a conclusion.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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