Already, in only the first 5 days of December, 2.5 inches of rain has fallen in the area of the South Puget Sound. The record rainfall for the month of December is about 14.32 inches, in both 1950 and 1970 (according to the newspaper.) If the rest of the month sees equivalent accumulations as the first five days, then December 2012 will break previous monthly rainfall records.
In part due to the heavy rainfall, sea-levels have been above predicted heights. Levels have been ranging in between 1 and 2 feet above normal. If heavy rains continue, then there will be potential for flooding around the 15th, 16th, and 17th of the month, when the season hide tides reach their peak.
Sunday 22 January 2012
The rain falls heavily on the land around the Salish Sea. It collects in pools and runs down ditches. It flows over the low parts of the roads, where a stony creek might have cut a path one hundred years ago. Now the pavement lays in belts across the neat terrain, culverts buried underneath, bridges where the water flows more vigorously at times. The cow fields begin to look like the wetlands they'd rather be. The creeks impersonate rivers and the rivers raging torrents bent on changing course; straightening where gentle curves and elaborate twists have been the rule.
The salt water of the sound at high tide crests established boundaries, spilling into lots and onto drives whose strength is now called into question. Where things appear as permanent, seams and fissures introduce the challenge, met with human intervention. When the worst has come, teams of workers will disperse and repair the damage done to their meticulously constructed networks. While the funds last; roads will be repaired, culverts will become bridges, bridges will be built bigger and stronger and more robust, utilities will be improved, and the elaborate life of the modern human will continue. The rain is only a fleeting inconvenience to these industrious animals, an obstacle to their orderly undertaking.
Here's the text of an email sent me today by a friend who works in disaster relief and long term recovery efforts. Thought Dave's perspective on what's going on in Lewis County (and other flood areas) is instructive. I witnessed exactly the second disaster thing in the Gulf Coast a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck, where entire semi-truck convoys had arrived stuffed with used clothing, at least half of it rags. The "generosity" of others ended up creating an enormous solid waste disposal problem.
In case it hasn't been clear from all the media accounts and press releases over the past couple of weeks, please consider from this point on an absolute embargo, prohibition, ban, whatever on any donations of clothing or household items of any kind, especially to Lewis County.
The donations issue has created a major crisis in Centralia and Chehalis in particular. In the disaster relief/response community, this is typically called the "disaster that follows the disaster." I'm not at liberty to hare all that I know about the extent of the problem politically or among the voluntary agencies in Lewis County, but the bottom line is "no donations, period."