|Wildfire is a terrifying phenomena. But for the most part it happens in remote areas and affects comparatively few people, with a few very big exceptions.
But El Niño storms, for all the benefit they bring to our reservoirs, snow pack and parched soils, also bring floods. Most human activities in California happen in low-lying areas along or near rivers, creeks and the coast, and thus are much vulnerable to flooding than to fire. Powerful wind and heavy rain during big storms also have a tendency to destroy agricultural crops.
Most of the worst floods in California history have happened during ElNiño years, or during the so-called ¨Pineapple Express” storms that tend to occur in those years when subtropical moisture gets pulled into the state.
We have already been feeling the initial effects of this warm and humid air. Here at the farm, it has rained every ten days or so for the last six weeks. While it hasn’t amounted to much, it is so unusual as to be considered extreme. It’s been cloudy and humid instead of dry.
Drought is a slow-moving natural disaster. And if it lasts too long, it can be just as destructive as amassive storm. But if this year’s El Niño shapes up to be the biggest ever, we will likely see one or more extreme weather event that causes extensive damage from flooding and wind.
“The Blob” and “El Niño”, battling it out to a draw. That’s the winter I’d like to see.
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