Flooded Friday Reads

The Baton Rouge Police Department shared photos Thursday, May 30, 2019, taken during levee patrols as the swollen Mississippi River continues to rise. (Courtesy of BPRD, Facebook)

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

The historical floods of 1927 were so awesomely deadly and damaging that the Federal Government decided to try to tame the mighty Mississippi and all the tributaries that empty into the great river.  It’s still called the “Great Flood” but this year might be the year it goes to second place.  As is the case with most disasters, it struck the poorest and most disenfranchised the worst.  I’m seeing that we shall continue taking it out on the poorest of us as is our National Heritage since three Republicans refuse to release Disaster Aid.

Mississippi River flood of 1927, also called Great Flood of 1927flooding of the lower Mississippi River valley in April 1927, one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States. More than 23,000 square miles (60,000 square km) of land was submerged, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, and around 250 people died.

After several months of heavy rain caused the Mississippi River to swell to unprecedented levels, the first levee broke on April 16, along the Illinois shore. Then, on April 21, the levee at Mounds Landing in Mississippi gave way. Over the next few weeks essentially the entire levee system along the river collapsed. In some places, residential areas were submerged in 30 feet (9 metres) of water. At least two months passed before the floodwater completely subsided.

In the aftermath, authorities were severely criticized for favouring the white population during rescue and relief operations. Thousands of plantation workers, most of them African Americans, had been forced to work, in deplorable conditions, shoring up the levees near Greenville, Miss. Then, as the waters rose, they were left stranded for days without food or drinking water, while white women and children were hauled to safety. African Americans gathered in relief camps also were forced to participate in relief efforts, while receiving inferior provisions for themselves, and to clean up flooded areas. At least one black man was shot, reportedly for refusing to work.

The flood brought about long-term social and political changes in the country. Over time, African Americans largely switched their loyalty from the historically antislavery Republican Party (the party of Pres. Calvin Coolidge, in office during the disaster) to the Democratic Party. In addition, the disaster contributed to the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to cities in the North. The flood also found its place in folklore, music, literature, and films. Popular songs about the event include Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks” (1929), reworked in 1971 by the English rock group Led Zeppelin, and Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” (1974).

None of this is usual.  This is the third time in history the Morganza spillway will be opened but the second time this decade. At this writing, it will be opened on June 6th.  It will join the second in one year historical opening of the Bonnet Carre spilway.  Both of these are designed to take the pressure off of the levees up and down the Missippi but are quite damaging in their own way.

The Corps plans to open the Morganza Spillway, located west of Baton Rouge in Point Coupee Parish, on June 6, the agency said Thursday (May 30). It would be only the third time the structure west of Baton Rouge has ever been opened. The opening had been planned for Sunday, but was postponed because the river is rising more slowly than expected.

The delay will avoid putting additional water into the Atchafalaya Basin. In a May 27 statement, the Corps’ New Orleans District Commander Michael Clancy said opening the spillway would prevent the structure from overtopping and minimize stress on levees.

The White House on Thursday announced assistance will be available to those impacted in the following parishes: Assumption, Catahoula, Concordia, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Landry, St. Martin, Terrebonne and West Feliciana.

In this Friday, May 3, 2019, aerial file photo, flood waters from the Mississippi River surround Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa. Officials in Davenport say the city’s public works department has spent over $1 million on flood-fighting efforts and that figure will surely rise as more costs are added in preparation for the potential of future flooding. (Photo: Kevin E. Schmidt, AP)

Again, the Mississippi River Flooding is the  “longest-lasting in over 90 years, since ‘Great Flood’ of 1927.”  I never enjoy being at the center of this kind of record breaking or history making event.

Flooding in at least 8 states along portions of the Mississippi River – due to relentless, record-breaking spring rainfall – is the longest-lasting since the “Great Flood” of 1927, the National Weather Service said.

The 1927 flood, which Weatherwise magazine called “perhaps the most underrated weather disaster of the century,” remains the benchmark flood event for the nation’s biggest river.

Anytime a modern flood can be mentioned in the same breath as the Great Flood is newsworthy: During that historic flood, hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes as millions of acres of land and towns went underwater.

At one point in 1927, along the Tennessee border, the Mississippi rose an astonishing 56.5 feet above flood stage, and in Arkansas, the river ballooned to 80 miles wide, according to the book Extreme Weather by Christopher Burt.

Hundreds of people died in the flooding.

That flood “was the seminal event that led to the federal flood-control program and gave the Army Corps of Engineers the job of controlling the nation’s rivers via the erection of dams, dikes and other measures of flood abatement,” Burt wrote.

At the height of the disaster, some 750,000 refugees were under the care of the Red Cross.

While the scale of this year’s flood may not match the 1927 catastrophe, in terms of longevity, this year’s flood rivals that one: For example, In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the river went above flood stage on Feb. 17, and has remained in flood ever since. The weather service said this is the longest continuous stretch above flood stage since 1927.

This event, however, is not the only unusual set of Weather Events impacting our country.  Vox explores this record breaker  in “More than 200 tornadoes devastated the Midwest over 13 days. Why?’

Tornadoes have been tearing up huge swaths of the United States this week, leaving death and devastation in their wake. On Monday alone, about 55 tornadoes touched down, and at least 27 tornadoes were reported Tuesday. That made Tuesday the 12th consecutive day with at least eight reported tornadoes, beating the record set in 1980. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that 225 tornadoes have been confirmed since May 17.

IdahoColorado, Texas, OklahomaKansasMissouriOhio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and other states all saw massive twisters touch down over the past several days. Several people were killed, dozens injured, and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Walls of some buildings were ripped off, making them look like dollhouses.

Some of the most severe damage was reported near Dayton, Ohio on Monday, where repair crews had to use snowplows to clear debris. Tuesday evening, a mile-wide tornado landed near Lawrence, Kansas, about 40 miles west of Kansas City. It injured at least 12 people and damaged around 30 houses. In Kentucky, one person was killed Wednesday after a roof blew off.

While it’s not unusual to have tornadoes several days in a row during tornado season in late spring and early summer, the sheer number this spring stands out.

“We haven’t seen a pattern this productive and that remained so productive for many, many years,” said Anton Seimon, a research assistant professor at Appalachian State University who studies thunderstorms and tornadoes.

comparison-alaska-warming-1200x675

In March 2019, the Bering Sea had much less ice than usual. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Today, I read this in the Smithsonian Magazine: Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska Wreaks Havoc on Communities and Ecosystems. Abnormally high temperatures have led to unsafe travel conditions, uncertain ecological futures and even multiple deaths.” 

I know that not every one finds weather to be as exciting as me.  Shortly after I was born in a Tornado Alley Town in Oklahoma my family was hiding out in a shelter from a big one.  I’ve been in a lot of big ones and they’re hair-raising and destructive.  I’ve had friends homes flooded out and blown to pieces by acts of nature.  I’ve seen garage doors fly over my house from the safety of a basement. I saw the feeder bands of Hurricane Katrina take aim at my city and home. This frequency, however, is astounding and it makes me seriously wonder why some people can’t see all this as an incredibly menacing pattern that says things are changing rapidly.  It appears to be in my DNA as the progeny of Kansas and Oklahoma farmers.

Alaska in March is supposed to be cold. Along the north and west coasts, the ocean should be frozen farther than the eye can see. In the state’s interior, rivers should be locked in ice so thick that they double as roads for snowmobiles and trucks. And where I live, near Anchorage in south-central Alaska, the snowpack should be deep enough to support skiing for weeks to come. But this year, a record-breaking heatwave upended norms and had us basking in comfortable—but often unsettling—warmth.

Across Alaska, March temperatures averaged 11 degrees Celsius above normal. The deviation was most extreme in the Arctic where, on March 30, thermometers rose almost 22 degrees Celsius above normal—to 3 degrees. That still sounds cold, but it was comparatively hot.

“It’s hard to characterize that anomaly, it’s just pretty darn remarkable for that part of the world,” says Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy in Fairbanks. The state’s wave of warmth was part of a weeks-long weather pattern that shattered temperature records across our immense state, contributing to losses of both property and life. “When you have a slow grind of warming like that, lasting weeks or months, it affects people’s lives,” Thoman says.

On April 15, three people, including an 11-year-old girl, died after their snowmobiles plunged through thin ice on the Noatak River in far northwestern Alaska. Earlier in the winter, 700 kilometers south, on the lower Kuskokwim River, at least five people perished in separate incidents when their snowmobiles or four-wheelers broke through thin ice. There were close calls too, including the rescue of three miners who spent hours hopping between disintegrating ice floes in the Bering Sea near Nome. Farther south, people skating on the popular Portage Lake near Anchorage also fell through thin ice. Varying factors contributed to these and other mishaps, but abnormally thin ice was a common denominator

Delores Griffin fishes in a flooded Ohio River at Fort Defiance State Park in Cairo earlier this month.

On May 13, Bill Nye the Science Guy gave a speech on HBO’s Last Week with John Oliver.  “‘You idiots’: Bill Nye’s fiery message to leaders stalling on climate change (via WAPO).

Bill Nye frolicked in a ball pit to explain how the planet’s populations compete for resources. He took a chain saw to a loaf of bread, comparing it to Earth’s crust, and he was nearly blown away in a wind tunnel while shouting “science!”

But he’s talking about global warming now — and he’s in no mood to mess around.

“By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on Earth could go up another four to eight degrees,” Nye said, appearing on a segment of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on Sunday.

The famously zany scientist and host of the PBS series “Bill Nye the Science Guy” then aimed a blowtorch at a globe to illustrate his argument: “What I’m saying is: The planet’s on fire,” Nye said, punctuating his point with some R-rated profanity.

As I look down the streets to huge gigantic Oil Tankers moving down the river way above the roof of my home I’d like to add that it’s also flooding.  It’s a story of Fire and Water.

And this is the leadership show by Russian Potted Plant occupying the White House (via Wired).  “TRUMP’S LATEST ATTACK ON FEDERAL CLIMATE SCIENCE MAY BACKFIRE.”  May I suggest we cannot wait for this.

It’s “particularly ironic” that the Trump administration suggests that “worst-case scenario” forecasts, in which emissions continue increasing relatively unabated, are unrealistic, said Susan Joy Hassol, the former senior science writer on the National Climate Assessments that came out in 2000, 2009 and 2014.

“The people doing everything they can to keep us in a high-emissions scenario don’t want us to analyze the ramifications of being in a high-emissions scenario,” said Hassol, now the director of the North Carolina-based nonprofit Climate Communication.

Politicizing the report isn’t a new tactic. In 2000, the incoming George W. Bush administration tried to bury the first National Climate Assessment after scientists had already completed the report. The administration then delayed the second National Climate Assessment and tried to censor entire sections. The ensuing legal battle ended up delaying the release of the report until 2009.

“There was interference, but nobody ever said, ‘You can’t use a high-emissions scenario,’ ‘You can’t use a business-as-usual scenario’ or ‘You can’t look out a century,’” she said. “That’s just not the way science is done. It’s crazy.”

Climate policy was an abstract concept largely limited to the federal sphere 15 years ago, but today, state and local officials are scrambling to enact regulations and laws to adapt to a hotter world and reduce emissions. If the National Climate Assessment, which includes detailed regional projections, becomes less credible, that would be a loss for those policymakers, said Bob Kopp, a climate scientist and policy scholar at Rutgers University.

“It’s valuable at a state and local level, areas that don’t have the resources to do that sort of work on their own,” Kopp said. “California has a pretty intensive climate assessment, but not every state does.”

So, my hair is pretty much on fire about this and a lot of things these days.  We have attacks on voter rights, women’s rights, the rights of the GBLT community, the rights of asylum seekers, and all kinds of things.  My idiot Governor just signed on to one of those heart beat laws which again, denies science.  Six week old fetuses do not have hearts per se so they cannot have heart beats, but hell, if it serves the White Nationalist Christianist Agenda and their funders by all means, kills us all.

Right now, I’m hoping that the wildlife can get out of the way of the opening of the Morganza and that we can minimize the damage it will cause.  We joke that Trump creates infrastructure week on a regular basis and then toddles off for some other spotlight but the entire situation along the Mississipi and its tributaries shows us the eminent danger in letting our infrastructure fail. 

This marvel of modern civil engineering has, for fifty-five years, done what many thought impossible—impose man’s will on the Mississippi River. Mark Twain, who captained a Mississippi river boat for many years, wrote in his book Life on the Mississippi, “ten thousand river commissions, with the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or define it, cannot say to it ‘Go here,’ or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore which it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over, and laugh at.” The great river wants to carve a new path to the Gulf of Mexico; only the Old River Control Structure keeps it at bay.

Failure of the Old River Control Structure and the resulting jump of the Mississippi to a new path to the Gulf would be a severe blow to America’s economy, robbing New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the critical industrial corridor between them of the fresh water needed to live and do business. Since a huge portion of our imports and exports ship along the Mississippi River, a closure would cost $295 million per day, said Gary LaGrange, executive director of the Port of New Orleans, during the great flood of 2011. An extended closure of the Lower Mississippi to shipping might cost tens of billions. Since barges on the Mississippi carry 60% of U.S. grain to market, a long closure of the river to barge traffic could cause a significant spike in global food prices, potentially resulting in political upheaval like the “Arab Spring” unrest in 2011, and the specter of famine in vulnerable food-insecure nations of the Third World.

The rising Mississippi River has prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to halt replacement of a 500-foot-long flood wall at the edge of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Meanwhile, three Republicans do not want to come to the aid of fellow Americans in the path of destruction.

Another House Republican on Tuesday thwarted attempts to pass a bipartisan disaster aid package, further delaying $19 billion in emergency relief and frustrating lawmakers whose states were hit by devastating hurricanes, wildfires and flooding.

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who objected to the bill’s passage during a voice vote, demanded that the vote be held after the House returns from recess next week — making it all but impossible that President Donald Trump can sign the package before early June

Another House Republican on Tuesday thwarted attempts to pass a bipartisan disaster aid package, further delaying $19 billion in emergency relief and frustrating lawmakers whose states were hit by devastating hurricanes, wildfires and flooding.

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who objected to the bill’s passage during a voice vote, demanded that the vote be held after the House returns from recess next week — making it all but impossible that President Donald Trump can sign the package before early June

I guess the lives of protohumans are still more important than living, breathing human beings in the eyes of these monsters.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


25 Comments on “Flooded Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Rats – I got an error about privacy settings. I can’t play this.

      Hope you keep your feet dry Dak. I’m a total weather geek, possibly because I also went through storms very young. I was 5 when Hurricane Donna hit Ft. Myers, Fl. and that is still considered one of the top worst hurricanes in the U.S. (I think, Hurricane Michael changed that list for sure). I vividly remember a lot, especially the sound of the wind.

      It breaks my heart people and animals are suffering because SOME people don’t think climate change is real. Welp – most people who die in fires don’t believe the threat at first.

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    Okay, I’m gonna go grade some … take care Sky Dancers and Have a high dry and weekend!!!

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    Dardanelle Levee in Arkansas officially breached, evacuations ordered
    Early Friday morning, President Trump officially declared an emergency in Arkansas.

    https://www.wafb.com/2019/05/31/breaking-dardanelle-levee-arkansas-officially-breached/?fbclid=IwAR1fOpSnmhFc5j2EhXx-FFs121uetKop8D6eBE60OcsYInoIHVX7JbvhwRA

    The breach comes after the Arkansas River rose to record levels across the central part of the state.

    Early Friday morning, President Trump officially declared an emergency in Arkansas for Arkansas, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell Counties.

    The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts, to help alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency.

    On Thursday, Governor Asa Hutchinson toured the devastation in the northwest part of the state caused by the swollen Arkansas River.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      Thank you Kamala!!

    • NW Luna says:

      “Fundamental to women’s autonomy” Thank you Gov. Inslee! CA, OR and WA have laws to ensure women’s reproductive rights.

    • NW Luna says:

    • NW Luna says:

  7. Enheduanna says:

    This is straight out of the authoritarian handbook:

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/federal-grand-jury-subpoena-andrew-gillum

    On top of investigating Abrams and all the other “investigate the investigator” stuff at DoJ. But don’t lets get ahead of ourselves and impeach……SMH

    • NW Luna says:

      Investigating Gillum, WTAF? It’s his opponent who needs investigating. They’re making up “enemies of the state.”

    • quixote says:

      God. This isn’t even merely similar to, kind of analogous, on the spectrum of Stalin stuff.

      It’s just plain old straight up exactly the same as what Stalin used to do.

      But let’s wait on impeachment until every last Dump voter agrees he’s maybe not all that.

      /*endless screaming*/

  8. NW Luna says:

    Nevermind the damn court, the Trump DOJ is above the law. What are they hiding?

    Justice Department does not comply with court order to release transcripts of Flynn & Russian ambassador.

    Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge’s order.

    In a court filing Friday, the Justice Department wrote that it did not rely on such recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or determine a recommendation for his sentencing.

    Prosecutors also failed to release an unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge had ordered be made public.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Another mass shooting, this time in Virginia. 12 people have died so far. Shooter was male (no surprise there) and died in police fire. Anyone want to guess he’s white and right-wing?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/police-respond-to-shooting-at-virginia-beach-municipal-complex/2019/05/31/49dca07a-83e6-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html?utm_term=.ad8d044e4a9a