On Monday morning, Lindsey Doan was driving her son, Kyle, to preschool in little San Miguel, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. As always in this wet winter the San Marcos road was flooded but let the car run around in the water as recently as the day before with no problem.
Now, however, it was different. The two-ton Chevrolet Traverse lost its grip and was pushed against a tree, she told the Associated Press.
“It’s okay, Mom,” 5-year-old Kyle tried to reassure from the back seat.
Take it easy.
I just found the shoes
But water started flowing into the car. With her son in what she thought was a firm hold, Lindsay made her way. The mother tried to hold onto a strong tree, but she underestimated the power of the water. The whirlpools pulled the little one to the other side of the torso – and tore his hand off the Lindsys.
Cale disappeared into the blocks of water. Despite an extensive search, the only trace that was found was a blue-gray Nike shoe.
It is one of a growing number of casualties in the winter storms that are now mercilessly pressing on the United States. Since the end of December alone, DWR climatologist Michael Anderson has counted seven. And two more are on the way.
– The challenge is that we will get to number eight and nine in a series, and the cumulative impact will be greater than the individual storms, Anderson told the Associated Press.
An example of this is all the trees which now fall with extraordinary ease and thus pose an increased safety hazard.
Like a sponge
The Earth works like a sponge, there is a limit when it has no room for more water. After that, the trees almost gain buoyancy in the surface of the soil, standing up pretty loose, says Remy Hammer, a tree fan involved in a round-the-clock effort to remove trees in and around San Francisco.
– When strong winds blow, we witness “tree collapse”, large trees lose their roots and fall.
A measure of how much precipitation is that of the Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort in Northern California reported a week Up to 8 meters of snow so far in the recently started season. Sometimes it was not possible to run the lifts in the morning because they were simply buried in the massive amounts of snow that arrived during the night.
But in the south, where precipitation comes in the form of rain, the consequences become really dire. More than half of California’s 58 counties have declared states of emergency, and cleanup after the storm could cost more than $1 billion, according to the state’s Office of Emergency Services.
a drop in the bucket
On the other hand, even record rains can’t overcome California’s already-ongoing severe weather crisis: 97 percent of the state is experiencing drought, According to drought monitoring mapping. It was built over at least two decades.
– In the big picture, this series of storms is really just a drop in the bucket, says DWR’s Jenny Jones.
The moody weather is expected to get worse as long as we humans do not drastically reduce our use of coal, gasoline, and other fossil fuels. As one of the most vulnerable states, California has a leadership role in green energy in the United States, often clashing with coal-and-oil-friendly President Donald Trump during his 2017-2021 administration.
But for Kyle Dwan’s mother, any possible solutions come too late.
“It’s getting to the point where I feel like I’ve run out of tears,” Lindsey Doan tells AP when the search has been going on for three days.
She knows she shouldn’t blame herself, but she finds it hard to let go of her thoughts.
– Think, what if you turn around and drive the other way?
– What if I say: you know what, we are going a different way today? I don’t know when I can get rid of these thoughts.
The rain and snow storms that occasionally reach the coast of North America are seen as an example of an atmospheric river (“atmospheric river” in English).
This means that extremely moist air is forced into a narrow area, similar to a canal that, when it enters above the ground, causes incredibly heavy rain or snow.
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