This week Butternut Hill Road in Waitsfield washed out after a torrential downpour on Tuesday night. The storm hit the whole Valley and watershed with such force that high up on Butternut Hill on Wednesday morning water was still pouring down the side of the road.
The record at the USGS. stream gage in Moretown for volume of water flowing in the Mad River was broken on Sunday. USGS. has 92 years of data on volume of water, precipitation and river height. Its records are being broken with increased frequency. For those who don’t use this amazing tool, check it out at: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?04288000. It’s a great way to assess flood danger and rainfall among other parameters.
Let’s put this week’s storm in the context of what else is happening around us. This week two people are missing and one is confirmed dead after a flash flood occurred in Piudre Canyon in Colorado. The floor tore through an area recently impacted by wildfires.
And whose news feed wasn’t full of pictures and videos of the horrific flooding in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, in China on the morning of July 21? Some 24 inches of rain fell in three days, trapping people in subways, urban centers and at home. As of Wednesday afternoon, 25 people were confirmed dead and the toll is expected to rise.
This occurred after last week’s unbelievable flooding in Europe that destroyed villages, homes, crops and infrastructure and killed 197 people with 155 still missing. That flooding hit Germany but also hit the Netherlands and Belgium.
All of this takes place against the backdrop of the Bootleg Wildfire in Oregon that is so massive it is generating its own weather and sent a plume of smoke across the continent that showed up in hazy skies and a burning orange sun earlier this week.
It’s hard to even fathom all these events taking place concurrently, but this is what our future looks like. This is climate change – extreme weather events, wildfires and disasters occurring at increasing frequency – 1,000-year floods happening every 100 years or every 10 or annually.
Coincidence? Not likely. This is a man-made crisis and we’re about to be out of time to avert worse.