Posted by: silverstar98121 | January 8, 2009

Floods, Avalanches, Mudslides

Well, that’s all the news from Washington State. If you must see the news you can try here and here. It looks like I-5 could be closed for several days from the flooding. This is THE major north-south highway in the state. Meanwhile, the Central Puget Sound region, around Seattle, was in a rainshadow, which meant that we got damp, but we didn’t get the 5-10 inches of rain the rest of Western Washington did. For which I am grateful, as it means I can go out on Epona this afternoon without installing the pontoons. Although I hear hammering from all around us, and hear some people are gathering animals two by two.

Flooded golf course, 1989

Flooded golf course, 1989

Which brings me to the first flood I experienced in Washington State. And they are saying this storm is a match to it, if not worse. The EX and I had barely been here a little over a month when it started to rain. And it rained and it rained. The next thing we knew, the river was flooding and we had a hard time getting out of town. I was lucky, I was still recovering from an auto accident and wasn’t working. But Barney had to find a way into the big town every day. This was hard as the main road out of town went over a bridge on the river. There were ways to wander around and get into town, but they were inevitably about five times as long.

One of the exports for Washington State is timber, and the timber industry

Under the bridge, 1989

Under the bridge, 1989

has held sway here for way too long. They have harvested timber in the most efficient, if not the most ecologically sound way. They clearcut. I was shocked when I first arrived here and saw the clear cuts on the mountains. I seemed to remember that we studied erosion in the sixth grade, and wind and water were cited as erosive forces. No one was allowed to clear cut in Colorado where I came from because of the erosive force of the winds there. So it was hard for me to reconcile the knowledge of erosion with a state that had high rainfall totals allowing clearcuts. But they do.

Underwater greenhouse, 1989

Underwater greenhouse, 1989

The result is flooding. When the white man first came here most of this land was covered with huge Douglas fir trees. In fact much of Western Washington and Oregon was rainforest. The only remaining temporal rainforest in the US is here in Washington, at the Hoh Rainforest. Many of the trees were ten or more feet in diameter. Some of these giants still exist in the Hoh Rain Forest. They had been here for centuries. But, of course, they were timber. The forests moderated the rainfall so that there wasn’t as much erosion, and slowed down any flooding that may have happened. Cutting down the trees and paving over the land has had the opposite effect. Now there is no place for it to go but into the streams, and there is nothing to slow it down.

Add to that the fact that the most recent Lands Commissioner was a tool in

Flooding on the Nooksack River, 1989

Flooding on the Nooksack River, 1989

the hands of the timber industry, who violated state law to allow cutting on unstable slopes, and you have the mess that was the flooding of December 2007. The current flooding is hitting the same area, which hasn’t had a chance to recover truly from the last bout. We turned the bastard out this last election, but it was too little, too late.

We know about erosion these days, we know the effects that clearcuts and paving will have. I don’t see any need to continue to do these things over and over. Especially since it’s the taxpayers that provide the flood insurance. I guess I’m angry that it’s twenty years since that first flood, and we haven’t seemed to have learned anything. I guess I’m just pissed off. I feel sorry for the loggers, since their jobs are endangered by endangered species and by changing times. But if we don’t save our earth, and do logging in a sustainable manner, our grandchildren will have nothing.

I guess this has been one of them there rants I promised you. Thanks for bearing with me.


  1. I clicked on the link – the Ho Rainforest looks amazing

  2. oops sorry I meant Hoh

  3. I’ve been there, Nurse Myra, and it is amazing. Really big trees and moss everywhere. Must go again someday.

  4. i thought it was California that was supposed to slip into the sea. looks like ol’ Washington state is going to beat that. plant some more trees and hope for the best? [sigh] we do it to ourselves, don’t we?

  5. Sheesh! Gotta love that global warmin’

  6. I didn’t know you had this mad made disaster waiting to happen in Washington state.

    Louisiana is like that, they are losing so much land every year to erosion from all the levees they have built. A real shame.
    People pulling in all directions, if you save new orleans, you lose the coast. There’s no win win with that situation.

  7. Same problems in Northern California with logging, clear-cutting, etc. When I was living up in Mendocino County, our then-governor Ronnie Reagan infamously said, “When you’ve seen one redwood tree, you’ve seen them all.” He also emptied out and shut down most of the state hospitals. I could go on, but why bother?

    I hope the weather in your state dries up soon.

  8. Kitty- Yep, even though they teach sixth graders about erosion, (or used to), apparently the adults aren’t getting the message. Especially when it involves money.

    Toby- Reagan f***ed up more than just the California State hospitals. We can blame him for about three-quarters of the people on the streets. One more blessing St. Ronny brought us.

  9. I hate biblical rain. The second it starts to come down a bit too hard or lasts a little too long, I am back in 1993 when it rained/poured every day but about a dozen from early June until late July. In Iowa anymore it seems that there is no such thing as light rain – unless it’s winter time and then we had to call it freezing drizzle anyway.

    Who can deny climate change with all this evidence?

    • I don’t know how they can justify the doubts, Annie. I was gratified to read
      in the Seattle PI today that concurs with my assessment that
      it’s a triple whammy of clear-cutting, development and climate change. I
      think I’m glad I’m old.

  10. the Hoh rainforest is now on my “must see” list… probably ought to get to it soon before it washes away…

    • The Hoh will be there, Daisy Fae, it’s the rest of the state, where we’ve
      clear cut all the trees and paved over everything we could that will wash
      away. Plan on kayaking there if this flooding gets any worse.

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