Too Much

June 2, 2015

Ripples in mud flats from recent flooding at Morgan Run

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Texas and Oklahoma have been battered by nearly continuous storms since the Memorial Day weekend.  These storms have produced tremendous flooding as many rivers have over-topped their banks and have swept away trees, property, and lives.

The high water mark evidenced by debris from recent flooding at Morgan Run

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Locally, we have had the first real thunderstorms of the season the past couple of nights, which do not even begin to compare to the tornadoes and volumes of water that have hit Texas and Oklahoma.  For example, Houston, Texas received over 11″ of rain in one day last week.  Our storms were just a glimpse of what has been happening there and yet they produced enough rain for Morgan Run to rise and flood its banks.  The above photograph is of the high water mark-this is the line of debris that demarcated the farthest encroachment of the water.

The overflow and flattened grasses from recent flooding at Morgan Run

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Flood waters produce currents that have the force to flatten flora…

Wooden debris against a tree from recent flooding at Morgan Run

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Wooden debris against a tree from recent flooding at Morgan Run

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Flipflop among debris from recent Morgan Run flooding

Copyright 2015 Kevin p. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and can sweep away branches, trees, and, if enough rain has fallen, vehicles and homes.  If there is a sturdy enough object that can withstand the pressure, a debris pile will accumulate.  As the linked report that begins this post describes, at least one house in Texas was destroyed after being removed from its foundation and carried into a bridge.  As of May 30, 28 people have died in the floods.

The home in which I grew up had the basement flood twice-it was such a disturbing experience to be atop the basement stairs and look down to see family possessions floating around.  I distinctly remember checking several times as I was afraid that the water would continue rising into the rest of the house.  In 1972, Hurricane Agnes caused the Monocacy River to flood and destroyed one of the businesses in which my aunt, uncle, grandparents, and, on occasion, myself worked-my grandmother drove me as close as possible to the then receding water to see the damage.  Those experiences during my early formative years left me with a healthy, perhaps even unhealthy, respect for the power of out-of-control water.  I routinely cross that portion of the Monocacy and, when doing so, always think back to 1972.

On the other side of the world, and at the opposite end of the weather spectrum, India has been experiencing a heat wave since April that has seen temperatures exceed 110 degrees: it has been hot enough in some areas that the asphalt roads have softened, as described in the linked report.  As of that May 26, report, 750 people had died due to the unrelenting heat.  Yesterday, June 1, NPR’s Here and Now broadcast this report, which has the death toll at approximately 2,200.  I have no personal connection to temperatures of that magnitude and duration, although I do greatly dislike the heat and humidity that has already found its way here this year.  I can only imagine what it is like in India.  In that regard, the recent thunderstorms have been welcome as the temperature is now in the lower 60s.  This is temporary.

Climate change is longer-lasting.  Please do read and/or listen to that Here and Now report as the significant theme therein is adaptation.  Given the overall warming of the planet, these kinds of weather events really can no longer be referred to as extreme as they are now much more commonplace.  Indeed, that same Here and Now episode had several stories about the drought in California and the water-rationing systems that have now become law in many counties.  Adaptation, in this context, refers to the varying means by which species have to find ways to cope with climate change.  Charles Darwin discussed the process of evolution as the method by which species habituated to their environments-the other alternative was to die off.  The climate is changing now at a pace such that species do not have the time for biological adaptation, in fact, extinction is the route many will find.  (For much more on that, please also give Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History a read.)  Ms. Kolbert’s subtitle is referring to the anthropocene era-the time in which human activities are responsible for the mass changes to the planet.  This is a term that is controversial, as is explained here. (Note:  this is a long article, but one well-worth reading as the events so briefly discussed in this paragraph are provided their much due attention.)  While the term “anthropocene” is controversial, the human-generated impact on the Earth is quite clear.

The title of this post was created with the intention of it being applicable to a wide range of meanings, many of which have been included in this particular post.  This is a time of too much flooding, too much heat, and too much related dying.  It is also true that “too much” may be used to refer to the length of this post, which along with the links, is quite a read.  Point taken.  However, climate change and its impact the resources necessary to sustain the diversity of species on this planet is arguably the most significant issue of our time.

Condolences to all who died and suffered in these most recent of weather events.

Take care.





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