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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spring Floods?



This year’s snowpack is huge. Another 3 to 5 inches is predicted for Sunday. However, by the middle of next week we are going to have a warming trend where temperatures will climb above freezing.

In recent years the season changes have been abrupt. Last fall we went from mild weather to snow on the ground that stuck around all winter. Maybe people were caught with their boats still in the water. If we have an abrupt warming spell it’s going to be interesting.

Spring floods are no joke. Even here in the mountains it’s an issue. The rivers and streams overflow their banks. There have been days when we’ve hunkered down at home because all the local roads were impassable. Culverts, roadway, and even bridges have disappeared. Never drive over a flooded road. Even when I drove a lifted 4X4 pickup I’d turn around. The only exception was when there was a state road crew on the job and they assured me there was pavement under all that water.

Now that our only vehicle is a little economy car, I’m not even going to think about it. Even if the car could wade through the water it’s not going to happen. Modern cars are so full of electronics that water really messes them up. You might think you got away with it, but six months later electrical systems begin to fail. Once those start to go it takes a professional with the right diagnostic tools to even begin to try to fix it.

It looks like it won’t be long before the start of our fifth season: mud season. All the dirt roads are closed and weight limited are placed on many of the paved ones. There’s a reason houses in the north have mud rooms. It’s a place to deposit your muddy boots and rain coats before entering the house proper. It was the first addition I put on my house when transforming it from a seasonal cottage to a four season house.

One of the scary things to watch is an ice jam on the river. As the ice breaks up into huge chunks, sometimes those chunks dam the river. Picture a flood full of mini icebergs. The ice can easily scrub dams right off the river banks.

As much as I’m a bit leery about how fast the snow might melt, I am looking forward to spring. It’s been a tough winter for me.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. Spring Melt, when or if it comes, will be hellacious. Glad I'm down south far below the snow line.

    Saw some pics of houses out west where the snow is as high as the roofline, and they've tunneled out all the entrances. Bad days coming.

    If melt ever comes...

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    1. I've seen worse winters, but this one is bad enough. At least I haven't had to exit from the second floor using snowshoes. If we get a lot of rain during the melt it's going to be serious.

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    2. Had a teacher whose first assignment was Buffalo, who wondered why the snowmobile garage was above the regular garage. Florida Boy learned real quick.

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    3. Ha! Buffalo gets that lake effect snow. It's impressive as all heck, even for someone like myself who lives north of the White Mountains.

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  2. We've had so much rain that our local river has flooded the park. I think I've forgotten what the sun looks like. I have two rivers going down the sides of my driveway. Thankfully the pond is draining as it's supposed to. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a long hot, dry summer. - Momlady

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    1. If we have a long hot summer at least we'll be starting with plenty of groundwater.

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  3. My Jeep Liberty is "Trail rated" to be able to run through almost three feet of water, but I would never want to attempt it, especially if the water is moving. Hydraulic force can overcome most all vehicles.

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    1. Most people underestimate the power of running water. It doesn't take much flow to produce many tons of force.

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  4. Off topic but I'm sure you'll find it interesting and sad. You may have already seen this video. It’s about a very frail 83 yo sailor who was forced to call his full time sailing to an end. Hope he’s doing OK.
    From Sailing Emerald Steel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLZkK_bAweQ

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    Replies
    1. Just watched it. Very sad. It's tough to have to give up the life. Maybe it's just darn tough to get old and frail.

      I'm glad to see the Emerald Steel crew are still robust.

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