Sunday, May 29, 2011

Looks Like It Ain't Going To Be Over Till It's Over & an Update

As a Geographer I know that most Geomorphological events are small and spread out over time. But I also know that it is the catastrophic events that change the world. Way into the 1980's the concepts of gradualism held sway in Geography. Things happened slowly and it was the cumulative effect that made things like the Grand Canyon and the Himalaya Mountains. Of course we knew intellectually that volcanoes and such came along every once in a while but they were the exception. Well gradualism is still with us, but it isn't the only game in town any more. Once someone proved that the Columbia River Gorge and the Scab-lands of Eastern Washington State were created by a Mega Catastrophic Flood, that happened not just once but as many as twelve times well things began to look a little different.

We are watching a lot of that happening world wide today. Things are changing faster that people expected and can comprehend. Mainly it is due to climate change. The seas are warming and that is impacting events all around the globe. (Forget the political side of this of who did what, the change is an empirical fact. How and when the changes happen are open to question.)

In America we are seeing some of the effects this summer in the form of flooding. Here at the end of May we have just survived the Great Flood of 2011. It is ending not with a whimper but with a sigh of relief for some and tears for many. "New Orleans is all better now. Morganza is being closed. Water in lower Mississippi River will be keep just below flood level until it receeds. Storm water in Mid-West not a threat. It is all OK. Reckon the Corps. people in Montana & ND forgot to tell the Corps. in Louisiana that they are opening the spigot?"

It finally has been noted in the press that the problems of this years flooding go back a ways.
What began on the upper Missouri River in Montana, and North and South Dakota in 1951 is playing out this May of 2011 in the flooding of the lower Mississippi and dozens of communities in its delta. Water behind those dams — brimful this spring — has only one place to go: downstream into an already swollen Mississippi.

And they are right. While New Orleans celebrates its salvation and the Cajuns of the Atchafalya basin contemplate their losses phase two is beginning its trip down river.
OMAHA (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning Missouri River states to brace for possible summer flooding, as it prepares to open dams straining under the pressure of heavy spring rains...

Now what happens. Will the May flood be repeated? Will the Atchafalaya steal the Mississippi? Will St. Louis Flood? Flood Cairo?????

Here's what's going on in North Dakota: The Bismarck Tribune
Output from the Garrison Dam will eventually reach 150,000 cfs, raising the water level to 20.6 feet in Bismarck.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Crews and residents frustrated by a week of major flooding across Montana cleared debris from roadways and some muddied homes on Saturday, even as they braced for more heavy rainfall expected over the Memorial Day weekend.
The Bismarck Parks and Recreation District has closed several recreational areas due to high water. Park, facilities and trail closing information will be updated as needed at
More than 7 million empty sandbags have arrived at the city's sandbag sites. Approximately 650,000 sandbags have been filled at the city's three manned sandbag sites since Tuesday.


BB-Idaho said...

Probably explains why Spring still hasn't come up our way. Almost June and it snowed up high again. BTW, that catastrophic geology/accelerated erosion sure
gets grabbed by the creationist folk to bolster their flood story
of 5000BC.

drlobojo said...

I don't recall Noah doing that 12 times.