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Flood & Fire Update

MSNBC reports that Missouri sandbag levee fails, forcing evacuations

WINFIELD, Mo. – A makeshift barrier holding back the Mississippi River failed early Saturday, swamping the low-lying part of the small community of Winfield and ending a valiant but ultimately doomed battle against the surging river.

About 300 National Guard soldiers worked nearly 20 hours to build a levee around a cluster of 100 homes in the flood plain after the river ripped through another levee there early Friday. Officials hoped the barrier would keep the water at bay long enough for it to recede.

It didn’t. Still, those in the town of 720 people said they won’t forget the heroic effort to try saving the neighborhood.

Actually the problem wasn’t the the barrier, it was the ground underneath it that liquefied and allowed the water to flow through. The ground was saturated by rain before the flood crest reached the area, so there was really not much that could be done – but you try.

Today the Shrubbery and CNN both discovered that there are fires out West: Wildfires’ smoke, ash chokes Northern Californians

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires have turned the air of Northern California into an unhealthy stew of smoke and ash, forcing the cancellation of athletic events and other outdoor activities.

Health advisories urging residents to stay indoors to limit exposure to the smokey air were issued Saturday from Bakersfield north to Redding, a distance of nearly 450 miles.

Air pollution readings in the region are two to 10 times the federal standard for clean air, Dimitri Stanich, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, said Saturday.

Changing weather brought smoke-clearing breezes and brief relief to some areas Saturday, but it could also bring lightning storms similar to the ones that ignited fires across Northern California a week ago.

Thunderstorms could strike anywhere in the northern Sierra Nevada or the northern Central Valley on Saturday night, said National Weather Service forecaster Johnnie Powell in Sacramento.

The thunderstorms could also bring a small amount of much-needed rain, he said. The front was expected to pass by Sunday, setting up a second week of abysmal air quality.

The Shrubbery issued an emergency declaration and ordered federal agencies to help with fires. You would have thought that someone might have mentioned before Saturday that some of the fires are in national forests, and I think the federal firefighters could have used some help before today.

Arnold has at least mentioned that it might not be a good idea to set off fireworks any time soon, although he didn’t go so far as to ban them.


1 cookie jill { 06.29.08 at 12:22 pm }

Apparently the smoke from the CA fires is being seen in South Dakota.

2 Bryan { 06.29.08 at 2:58 pm }

Well, there’s not a lot to look at in South Dakota, but the jet stream that is causing the drought and flooding would push the smoke that way if it gets high enough.