March 3, 2006

Well we’ve done it. With no rain yesterday, Phoenix has broken its prior record of days without rain – now a whopping 136 137! Even though we live in a desert and long stretches without rain are to be expected, even long-time residents and observers are amazed – especially those who monitor the effects of the drought on the snowpack typically found in the state’s northern high country. There’s no doubt about it – even for a desert region, we’re in a historically significant drought, resulting in a number of adverse effects on the area:

That evidence can be found most dramatically in the high country’s lack of snowpack.

Snow measuring sites monitored by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service showed that 29 of 34 sites had no snow — the barest the survey sites have been going back to the earliest records in the late 1930s. A survey team scouting for snow this week in the San Francisco Peaks outside Flagstaff found just 4 inches where there should have been more than 50. Snowpack is critical for Arizona’s water supplies, feeding the streams and reservoirs that supply Phoenix, Flagstaff and dozens of other communities.

…The U.S. Forest Service imposed restrictions in four areas last month, the earliest the agency had ever taken such steps. And forest closures are possible by spring.

…Jim deVos, research chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said the drought is expected to take a heavy toll on wildlife as well.

…Air quality has also been hurt by the lack of moisture. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a stunning 24 high-pollution advisories since Nov. 1, and exceeded the federal standard for coarse particulates 29 times.

And things don’t look to be improving anytime soon, as it appears the west coast of South America is in for a short but intense La Nina period, meaning:

Under La Nina, the sea-surface temperature in the central and eastern tropical Pacific falls below normal.

This typically brings far dryer weather to the southwestern United States, Florida and western Latin America and above-average rainfall to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Even though this latest round, while unusually intense, is only expected to last another 3-6 months, it does pose a potential threat to the moisture and storms in our “monsoon period”, which typically occurs from late July through August. These months typically provide needed rains and a welcome respite from the fierce summer heat, but if this La Nina impacts that even minimally, it could be one long, miserable summer out here.

Speaking of broken records, I think most rational people understand that there is plenty of blame to go around in New Orleans re: the Hurricane Katrina fiasco. Between the levee boards, the mayor, the governor, FEMA, and the Department of Homeland Security, it is obvious that a serious lack of accountability, communication, and coordination between these various entities combined to do what the hurricane couldn’t. If, however, all you ever heard was the mainstream media’s pathetic reporting and the incessant bleatings of its partners-in-crime, the Democrats, you’d never hear about the school buses under water, the reckless spending by Governor Blanco, the misspent dollars allocated to fixing and building up the levees, or the fact that actual Katrina death statistics contradict the perception of a primarily African-American tragedy.

Predictably, the MSM and the Democrats have chosen to focus only on the federal government’s undeniably tepid response, but their most recent attempt to show that the President was somehow uncaring, out of touch, or lacking in concern prior to or during the storm and its aftermath – despite all the evidence to the contrary – shows just how totally over the edge they’ve gone.

The fact is, it is only the Prez who seems to have acknowledged any kind of responsibility for the problems with relief that occurred in New Orleans following the levee breaches. To my knowledge, neither their fool mayor Ray Nagin or their even bigger fool governor Kathleen Blanco have taken one iota of blame for their obvious lack of planning, competence, and concern before, during, or after the storm. The Democrats’ latest attempt to politicize the issue by trying to lay all blame at the foot of the President, and the mainstream media’s enthusiastic trumpeting of their charges, is an absolute disgrace. Of course, the Dems need to do this in order to cultivate and maintain a political wedge between a Republican administration and the Democrats’ most valuable and loyal constituency (read: African-Americans) in a critical election year. The fact they choose to do this when there remains so much left to do in both New Orleans and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in terms of aid, support, and managing the rebuilding process shows just how little shame they have. To call it a disgrace is simply not enough.

Filed in: Politics & World Events,Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:41 | Comments Off on Like A Broken Record (Literally!)
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