Search results for: 'fires'

  • California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    It’s been a tough water year for California. We’ve talked about the drought pretty extensively here on the blog, as well as some surprising effects it has had, like increasing rattlesnake populations in residential areas—in addition to the expected effects, like increasing food costs, more frequent and damaging wildfires (see here and here), and skyrocketing prices at water auctions.

    California started getting much-needed water last week, but it’s coming in a series of downpours that have flooded streets, caused mudslides that overtook homes and stranded motorists on the Pacific Coast Highway (a portion of the PCH is even shut down completely for 3-4 weeks because of the damage), and temporarily cut power to around 100,000 customers in the Bay Area. There was even a small tornado in south L.A. that blew the roof off one home.

    Just this month (1st-15th) it has rained 9.14 inches in San Francisco—compared to 2.08 inches that fell in almost six months last year (July 1 to Dec 15th). The ground just can’t absorb the water at the rate it’s falling, which leads to the mudslides and severe flooding that happened this week. Evacuations have taken place in several Southern California communities, and more will happen if the rain continues at these rates.

    A heavy storm is expected to come into Southern California Tuesday afternoon, leading to concern over more possible mudslides and flood damage. Northern California can expect rain and snow until Wednesday.

    Many California residents are unprepared for power outages, evacuations, and flooding—while others are ready, having prepared in advance for just these types of emergencies, with survival kits, family evacuation plans, and emergency gear they can rely on during the storms.

    Instagram user @annettecardwell posted this photo on December 10th with the caption “House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm”

     

     

    House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm

     

    A photo posted by Annette Cardwell (@annettecardwell) on

    Google brought their sense of humor—and a raft—along for the ride… because you never know.

    Twitter user @dwnydaisy seemed all set to go the day the storms hit.

    Unfortunately, there were also a lot of messages like this one from Twitter user @krisellelaran, who thinks Californians aren’t well prepared.

    Some California residents even had to evacuate because the storm downed power lines onto their homes.

    Being prepared doesn't always mean you get to stay home, or that there isn't damage to your property, but it does mean there’s less to worry about in a crisis.

    To prepare for heavy storms that cause power outages and evacuations:

    • Get an emergency kit for everyone in your household.
    • Buy or build a power outage kit for your home—you’ll appreciate having it during short outages where you get to stay home, as well as serious storms that require evacuation.
    • Develop a household or family emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Build up a supply of food storage and water storage you can rely on in long-term emergencies as well as short-term crises that last just a few days or weeks.
    • Research and develop important skills you can rely on for communication or survival.

    Prepare in advance, and you'll be ready for the next #rainpocalyspe or #hellastorm that comes your way.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/waterlogged-northern-california-rain-27626164

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/12/13/pineapple-express-storm-system-pounds-california/

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-first-storm-of-three-southern-california-20141216-story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-portion-of-pch-to-be-closed-20141215-story.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, rainstorm, Current Events, flood

  • Give the Gift of Gear: for the Outdoor Enthusiast

    Give the Gift of Gear: for Outdoor Enthusiasts

    Hello again, from the helpful elves here at Emergency Essentials! We hope you're having a happy holiday gift shopping experience this year—our goal is to make it even easier and more pleasant for you. In that spirit, here's the final installment of our gift guide:

    Excellent Ideas for the Outdoor Enthusiast on Your List

    Under $25: Let’s start with the basics. We know that there is no such thing ever as too many multifunction tools. Most of the outdoorsy types we know have whole dresser drawers full of pocket knives and Leathermans, and are still (always) on the lookout for the perfect one. Here, then, is s must-have for any such collection: the card-style, 11-function survival tool. Fits easily into a pocket or wallet, making it one that your giftee can use on the trail or off.

    And we have to mention this screaming deal. Normally $24.95,  the Military Spec Prismatic Sighting Compass is on sale this month for only $7.99! Not your run-of-the-mill pocket compass, this fancy-schmancy version is as precise as a GPS, but with no battery to run out on you in the middle of a four-day excursion. And it comes with a neat little carrying case.

    Under $50: Speaking of screaming deals, what would you say if I told you you could get your beloved outdoorsman a four-man tent for under fifty bucks? How about a lightweight, ultra-compact Twin Peaks Mountain Trails tent with all the bells and whistles (rain fly, mud mat, etc.)? This is the perfect tent for a multi-day hiking trip, or to keep in your car or pack for unexpected overnighters.

    Under $100: Just because these outdoor nuts willingly sleep on the hard ground in all weather doesn't necessarily mean they like it (okay, some do—guess that’s why we call them “nuts”). Give the gift of comfort this year with the Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad. The unique chamber design keeps the sleeper supported and warm through the night, and it rolls up so compact, your camper won't even notice it in his or her pack.

    Over $100: We’ve saved the best for last. The Grand Poobah of all gifts. The most cherished and most coveted by all who enjoy the cold and wet. Yes, folks, you guessed it. It's the Kelly Kettle. More specifically, we’re talking about the Kelly Kettle Large Stainless Steel Basecamp Combo, which includes not only the speed-heating kettle and stove, but a pot for cooking, a support grill, and a can of FiredUp fuel and firestarter. This really is our favorite outdoor accessory, and we know the outdoor fanatic on your list will love it. They might even stay inside long enough to thank you.

    What do you think? Any great ideas for the campers and hikers that we've missed? What are you getting your outdoorsman/woman this year? Or, if you are one, what's at the top of your wish list?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gear, outdoors, gift guide

  • Washington Wildfire Burned more than 300 Homes

    Washington Wildfire Burned more than 300 Homes

    The largest recorded wildfire in Washington state history that began on July 14th, 2014 has now scorched about 400 square miles of land. And as of August 4th, 2014 the file was only 90% contained.

    On July 28th, USA today reported, “the fire has destroyed at least 312 homes…and is blamed for the death of a man trying to protect his home. At its peak, it sent a huge plume of smoke drifting east across the United States.”

    In an assessment of the damage released by Yahoo News, Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended the pre-existing burn ban in the eastern part of the state for another week to avoid further damage.

    Governor Inslee acknowledges that even though fire crews have made great progress in containing the fire, “weather conditions are still a concern” that may extend the fire’s life. So the Washington wildfire could continue to blaze on.

    On Tuesday, July 29th fire managers released a map showing the fire’s growth since July 14th. The map shows that four separate lightning strikes created four burns that merged to create a massive wildfire. Check out the map at USA Today.com.

    1406580494000-Carletonmap

     

    According to fire-fighting officials, massive wildfires like this (and the one currently blazing in eastern Oregon) are becoming the norm. Wildfires are now burning hotter and longer than they were more than a decade ago.

    Since wildfires have been popping up all over the western US this summer, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones during wildfire season. Check out these Ready.gov tips  to help you prepare.

     

    For more info on the Washington Wildfire, check out these articles:

    New Map Shows How Record Washington Wildfire Grew

    Sheriff: 300 Homes Burned in Washington Wildfire

    Longer, Hotter Northwest Fire Seasons are New ‘Normal’

    Bear Cub Burned in Washington Wildfire Flown to California Wildlife Care Center

     

    If you’ve ever lived through a wildfire, what tips would you suggest for protecting your home and staying safe during a wildfire? If you haven’t, what steps are you taking to prepare, just in case?

     

    -Angela

     

    Sources

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/aug/05/wildfire-burns-homes-near-ellensburg/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, wildfire season, wildfire, Current Events

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week

    Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to know this week

    An overhead shot of the California wildfire from July 18th

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of July 14th-18th :

    1. Typhoon Rammasun Impacts the Phillippines

    Typhoon Rammasun pummeled the shores of Manila on Tuesday, July 15th. After experiencing the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan last year, hundreds of thousands of residents fled to higher ground and worked to shore up their weakened homes in anticipation of more severe storms. Read the full story from Foxnews.com.

    2. California Considers Setting Mandatory Water Curbs

    As a result of the three-year drought impacting California and other states in the West, California lawmakers are considering creating mandatory state-wide water restrictions for the first time during the drought. You’ll be surprised by how much the proposed out-of-pocket fine is for using your sprinkler in California...Check out the full story at foxnews.com.

    3. Chemical Leak Near Thailand’s Eastern Seaport Sickens Nearly 100

    On Thursday, July 17, at least 94 people were exposed to a chemical leak from a ship docked in Bangkok, Thailand. Residents were asked to evacuate the area and to seek medical attention.  Read more about this chemical leak from CBS News. But this is not the first time Thailand has been in the news this summer, read  about the recent political unrest and disaster scenarios people are preparing for in Thailand in our article, “Thailand Natural, and not so Natural Disasters.”

    4. Washington State Wildfires is so Massive it Creates Mushroom-Like Cloud

    Low humidity and 100 degree temperatures have created the perfect conditions for wildfires and large, billowing smoke clouds this week in Washington State. By July 18th, at least 100 homes had been burned. Emergency crews closed sections of U.S. 2 and other main roads across the state. Residents in Leavenworth, WA were asked to evacuate as ash rained from the sky. Read more from the New York Daily News and NBC News.

    5. Scientists identify Mt. Rainer’s volcanic center in detailed photographs

    According to the Science World Report, “Scientists are getting a closer look at Mount Rainier's volcanic plumbing. By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, researchers have made a detailed picture of what happens deep beneath the surface of the mountain.” Learning more about this volcano's internal plumbing helps us better predict and prepare for future eruptions. Check out the rest of the story at scienceworldreport.com.

     

    --Angela 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

  • Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    Drought Update: Lake Powell's Bleakest Year Yet

    We’ve talked a lot this year about the destructive drought choking the western US. And while California gets most of the attention (check out UNL’s drought monitor and their frighteningly visual perspective on California’s situation), other states are suffering, as well. In fact, the drop in a single reservoir is affecting residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah—and California! This headline from the Daily Mail sums up the dangerous situation:

    “Satellite images reveal mud-choked Lake Powell is LESS than half full and has hit a record low as the Western drought continues to strain major reservoirs”

    The article, which features a chilling image gallery of the barely recognizable vacation spot, reports that Lake Powell currently sits at 42% of its capacity, with experts estimating that this year’s snowmelt will only bring it up to about 51%. And it’s not just bad news for boaters. The man-made reservoir serves as a source of drinking water for 20 million people living across the west, and the Glen Canyon dam that regulates the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to the area.

    While forecasters predict a cool, wet “El Niño” year for 2014, Eric Holthaus over at Slate.com explains why that won’t be enough to recover from this decade-plus long dry spell in his article, “What Does El Niño Mean For Me?”. With no end in sight, then, how can we…er…weather this storm?

    For ideas on ways to prepare against the effects of severe drought, check out these helpful posts:

    And for a recap of this year’s drought and its unexpected effects, read here:

     

    What are you doing differently this year because of the drought?

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, drought, Current Events

  • 5 Myths about Tornado Safety

    |21 COMMENT(S)

    What you should know about tornado safety

    When it comes to knowing the facts and fiction about tornado safety, some of us may be relying on movies like Twister as our reference—especially if we don’t live in “Tornado Alley.”

    But what if you come face-to-face with a cyclone while traveling or moving to a new area? Would you know how to keep yourself safe?

    As you prepare, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the myths associated with tornado safety and to re-educate yourself to properly prepare. Here are 5 common myths about Tornado Safety you’ll want to know (and not fall for!) if a twister ever blows through your town.

     

    Myth #1: Tornadoes only occur in Tornado Alley.

    While it’s true that the central and Midwestern areas of the United States, known as Tornado Alley, do see a greater number of tornadoes, there’s no predicting where they can happen next. In fact, the experts at Weather.com suggest, “tornadoes can occur at any time of the year and in any part of the world.” And a recent accuweather.com article suggests there may be more than one tornado alley in the United States.

    As you can see in the chart below, a majority of tornadoes take place in Tornado Alley, but tornadoes have also occurred in many other parts of the country as well.

    5 Myths about Tornado Safety

    The National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center (SPC) routinely collects reports of severe weather and compiles them with a Graphic Information System (GIS). This file contains track information regarding known tornados during the period 1950 to 2006.

     

    According to an Associated Press report, a handful of tornadoes touched down in Northern California in March 2014. This area of the country, typically known for earthquakes and wildfires, experienced a tornado that damaged 20 homes. Many residents were not prepared for tornadoes, but they learned to prepare for the unexpected.

    This incident is important to keep in mind when preparing your own emergency supplies or when preparing to travel. Collect food, light, water, first aid, and communication supplies now so you can be ready if a storm hits.

     

    Myth #2: Tornadoes are unpredictable and therefore there is no way to prepare for them.

    Tornadoes do move unpredictably, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to prepare. Meteorologists and networks like the NOAA or Weather.com use radars and satellites to monitor temperature and wind patterns, and can give frequent updates for your area and early warnings to help you get to safety in time. The Voyager Pro Radio also has a weather alert feature that automatically notifies you when there are severe weather alert warnings in your area.

    You can also become aware of the warning signs of an approaching tornado:

    • green sky
    • hail
    • heavy rain followed by an eerie calm or drastic wind shift
    • churning debris
    • the sound of continuous thundering

     

    Myth #3: Sturdier buildings will protect me from the tornado.

    It feels better to be behind brick than in an open mobile park, but when outside items such as poles or cars become projectiles, anything is possible. As part of your emergency preparations, remember to choose a shelter or safe destination ahead of time so you can execute your plan without delay.

    If for some reason, something happens to your pre-determined shelter or you’re nowhere near it, the safest places are rooms without windows in the middle of the house, like a bathroom or closet. During a tornado in Joplin, MO, employees and customers at a local 7-11 took shelter in a cooler for safety because it was the only place in the building without windows. Check out the video below that illustrates the power of a tornado and how the cooler kept these people safe.

    If you’re driving when a tornado hits, get out of the car and lie flat in the nearest ditch (away from other cars and trees) or go to the closest building you can find to take shelter.

    Basements are also safe places to shelter in, but make sure there aren’t heavy appliances on the floor above you. Once you’re in the basement, get under a makeshift shelter like a workbench or mattress for added protection.

     

    Myth #4: I can outrun a tornado in my car.

    This may be true for trained meteorologists, so there is some debate over the issue. Tornadoes can shift quickly, and can move at about 70 miles per hour, so if there is no traffic and a straight road out of town, you may opt to take it instead of abandoning your car.

    If you decide it’s best to abandon your vehicle, be sure to leave it somewhere it won’t block emergency vehicles. Then find low ground—possibly a ditch. If there are flash flood possibilities, avoid overpasses; they can turn into wind funnels.

     

    Myth #5: If a tornado is heading your way, you should open all your windows.

    People have sometimes thought this equalizes pressure, but it really just causes you to spend your time on something other than getting to safety. Because of flying debris and wind velocity, there is no real way to protect your property, so your physical safety should be the first priority.

    Ultimately, finding the right shelter, having the right tools, and making a plan beforehand will be the best way to prepare for the unpredictable.

     

    For more information on how to protect yourself during a tornado, check out our article, "Preparing for a Tornado."

     

    What are your tips for staying safe during a tornado?

     

    --Lesley

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/survival/tips/5-myths-about-tornado-safety-16793545?click=pm_latest

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadosafety.html

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/five-tornado-safety-myths/25676569

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html

    http://www.mnn.com/family/protection-safety/stories/tornado-warning-signs

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/424106/the-limits-of-tornado-predictions/

    http://www.weather.com/encyclopedia/tornado/forecast.html

    “Tornado Alley chart” courtesy of accuweater.com http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/is-there-more-than-one-tornado/25431665

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Insight

  • California's Fire Season

    California's Fire Season

    During the few years I spent down in Orange County, CA, I didn’t so much miss the seasons, but I just had to get used to a different set of seasons. Fog season. High surf season. Ugg boots season. And fire season.

    If you’ve never lived through a summer-to-fall in Southern California, it’s hard to describe the brittle dryness of the air; the hot, dusty Santa Ana winds; the sinister orange tint of the sky; or the sharp burn in your throat as ash settles like cottonwood on cars and lawns. Wildfire season is unpleasant at best, and downright scary for those who live in the driest swaths. And California’s worst dry spell in recorded history is making that danger a reality for more and more residents.

    In mid-June, this report surfaced: “California Wildfire Threatens 1,000 More Homes Near Sequoia National Park.” While no injuries or fatalities were logged in relation to this fire, it swallowed three homes and was very hard to contain. Turns out the combination of heat, wind, and acres of brush sucked dry as tinder is exactly what a fire like this needed to grow to disastrous proportions.

    We’ve been watching California’s fires particularly closely this year. For a re-cap, check out our previous posts, “California Wildfires Spread Due to Drought Conditions,” and “Wildfires Plague Southern California.” And whether or not you live within blaze territory, it’s smart to know your wildfire safety. Here are some of our favorite resources:

    • FEMA’s US Fire Administration page has all sorts of free, downloadable materials on wildfire awareness and preparation.
    • We really like Ready.gov’s tip list for what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
    • The Wildfire Preparedness page from the American Red Cross is organized similarly, and includes guidelines on rebuilding after fire damage.
    • Readyforwildfire.org has fantastic interactive information, video tutorials, links to action plan and emergency kit checklists, and a live Twitter feed from Cal Fire.
    • Everybody’s favorite furry forest ranger, Smokey the Bear, has a whole tab full of games and teaching tools for children and families at SmokeyBear.com/kids.

     

    What are you doing during the dry season to prepare?

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, fire season, wildfire, Fire Safety, Current Events

  • 4 Ways Trees Can Help You Survive

    |17 COMMENT(S)

    4 Ways Trees can Help You Survive

    One spring, while hiking in Yellowstone, two friends of mine got lost. One of them fell down a mountainside and went into shock, so they had to spend an extra night in the snowy cold. When they finally emerged (safe, thank goodness), Jeff, the uninjured hiker, told me he was able to make a temporary shelter, build a warming fire on a snowy night, and brew a hot, vitamin-rich drink, all using different parts of one important natural resource—a tree.

    Trees can do much more than just provide fruit or a lean-to shelter in an emergency. So it’s important to learn the different uses for trees, and how certain trees can help you in survival situations. Start by becoming familiar with the trees in your area, and remember that trees have their limitations and certain things they can and cannot do if you have to use them in an emergency (for instance one type of tree might be good for starting fires, but might taste horrible  if you try to eat its bark).

    Here are some general tips for using trees in a survival situation.

    1. Food. Underneath the outermost bark layer of trees like basswood or white pine, is often a thin layer of bark that is edible and sometimes sweet.

    4 Ways Trees can Help you Survive

    Basswood

    4 Ways Trees can Help you Survive

    White Pine

    The seeds inside the little helicopter leaves of the sugar maple tree can be boiled and salted liked soy beans.

    4 Ways Trees can help you survive

    Sugar Maple leaf

    Oak trees produce acorns that, once leached of the tannic acid, can be ground into flour. Basswood leaves and young maple leaves can be eaten like spring greens.

    4 Ways trees can help you survive

    Oak

    2. Drink. You can drink the sap from white birch or sugar maple trees, sometimes even without purification.

    4 Ways Trees can Help you Survive

    White Birch

    If it’s too thick for drinking (like pine resin) you can mix it with water. You can also make “tea” from the twigs or young-growth bark of white birch trees, if you steep them in boiling water. Do the same with pine needles and you get a drink that is very rich in Vitamin C.

    3. Equipment. You can make several survival tools that are easy to craft and would be extremely useful in a wilderness survival situation.

    • Adhesives—You can make an adhesive from white birches and white pines by either by heating the bark over a fire and extracting the pine tar or heating and mixing tree resin with crushed charcoal. Use these adhesives for sticking arrow heads to sticks or to waterproof tent seams.
    • Rope—You can make rope from different parts of different trees. Look to the surface layer roots of white pine, which are very pliable and strong. The bark of willow trees can be peeled away and used as rope. You can also make rope from the inner fibers of the basswood tree that makes very strong cordage.
    • Candles/heatersIf you pour pine resin into a non-flammable container (such as a depression in a rock) and lay a twisted piece of cloth across it, you can light the cloth, which will light the resin, and, voila, a candle!  You can use a tool like the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier to poke holes in a metal container. If you then place the container over the lit resin, the metal should heat up sufficiently to warm your hands and feet. Cool, right?

    4. Medicine. Many trees and tree parts have medicinal uses. For instance, tannic acid, which can be extracted by boiling acorns or the inner bark of oak trees or oak twigs, is anti-bacterial and can be used as an antiseptic wash. Some also report that it can be consumed to treat diarrhea And, if you get a cut or an infection, you can spread pine resin on it to stop bleeding, prevent bacteria from growing, and close the wound. Willow bark can be chewed for its juices, which contain a chemical called salicin that can relieve headaches and inflammation—nature’s aspirin.

    Remember: These tips are for general knowledge. Always consult a medical professional for treatment, especially if any of the above treatments fail to work or worsen the condition.

    Whether you have a useful tool, like the Outdoor Edge Axe-It Hatchet or the Outdoor Edge Pack Saw or no tools at all, a tree can do something for you.

     

    Has a tree ever come to your rescue?  Please share your story—or another tree-use tip—with us in the comments!

     

    -Sarah B

    References

    Photo of White Pine courtesy of New Hampshire State Forest Nursery

    Photo of Sugar Maple leaf courtesy of Waterfordvillage.org

    http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/featured-wilderness-survival-blog-entries/5-trees-every-survivalist-should-know-why/

    http://survival.about.com/od/8/a/Several-Survival-Uses-For-Pine-Trees.htm

    http://www.offthegridnews.com/2014/02/26/5-life-saving-survival-trees-that-can-heal-feed-and-keep-you-alive/

    http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2013/11/5-survival-uses-of-pine-resin-2498784.html

    Posted In: Insight, Skills

  • The Effects of California's Driest Year

    |7 COMMENT(S)

    The Effects of California's Driest Year

    This post is the second installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. Check out Part One of the series: "California Drought: Four Months in Review

    For the last three to four years, drought conditions have spread all across the western US, but recently, California has been hit the hardest, facing dry temperatures and withered land. The following infographic from Drought Monitor shows you just how dry (and as a result, at risk for fires) certain areas of California are. 100% of the state of California is now in “severe” to exceptional drought.

    California Drought Monitor

    Conservation Mode

    The state is in emergency water conservation mode until further notice. According to Kathleen Miles from the Huffington Post, Governor Brown has advised residents to cut their water use by 20%. Homeowners who don’t promptly fix leaks have been fined by city governments.

    Coin-operated car washes must only use recycled water. Restaurants and private citizens are encouraged to use paper plates and cups, and water is served in restaurants only upon customer request. Newly-constructed swimming pools may not be filled. Earlier in the year, cities were squabbling over who gets how much water; and in Mendocino County, the sheriff’s office is keeping a close eye out for water thieves who try to pump water from Lake Mendocino into trucks and haul it away to sell or use.

    According to a Huffington Post article from May 16th, 40 city employees in Sacramento have even been “re-designated as ‘water cops’ tasked with reporting and responding to wasteful maintenance.”

    Industry Affected

    Tourism is also adversely affected. California’s ski industry struggled all winter for the lack of snow. Fishing has been banned in several rivers to protect drought-stricken salmon and steelhead trout that may be in danger of extinction if the drought continues. The wine industry is also suffering, with grapes growing slowly and ripening before they’ve reached mature size.

    Wildfires Increase

    California is especially vulnerable to wildfires during times of drought. On average, 69 fires are reported monthly during normal conditions; however, just from January 1 to January 25 of this year, 406 wildfires were reported. The California wildfire season typically occurs during the summer and fall, but the drought has caused wildfires to become an all-year-round occurrence.

    According to the National Journal, as of May 15th “brush fires in California had burned nearly 10,000 acres, destroyed 30 homes, threatened multiple military facilities, and forced thousands to evacuate.” The state has also faced a series of heat waves, with highs between 98 and 106 degrees F that are not helping the situation.

     

    These drought conditions are severely taking a toll on daily life in California and other areas in the west. Check out our Insight Articles to help you conserve water in the future by building up your own water storage supply today:

    Tomorrow, check out Part III of our California Drought Series  "California Drought: the Impact on Farming and Produce"

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Photo Courtesy of the United States Drought Monitor

    Editor's Note:  Correction to a statement made in an earlier version of this article. Lawn watering and car washing has not yet been banned in California. Watering has been reduced to two days a week and car washing has not been reduced yet. Residents are asked not to water sidewalks in an effort to conserve water.

     

    Sources:

    www.blogs.usda.gov/2012/08/10/us-drought-and-your-food-costs

    www.theundergroundsite.com/california-drought-could-impact-world-food-prices

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/california-drought-effects-500-years_n_4647529.html

    www.trippapparel.com/2014/18697

    www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Feature/LakeMead

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/california-drought_n_5340596.html

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/california-s-wildfire-season-has-ravaged-nearly-10-000-acres-so-far-20140515

    http://www.capradio.org/articles/2014/02/06/drought-forces-broadest-fishing-ban-in-state-coho-at-risk-of-extinction/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: California Drought, drought, natural disaster

  • California Drought: Four Months in Review

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    California Drought: Four Months in Review

    This post is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the 2014 California Drought. 

    All the western states, including California, are naturally subject to periods of drought. But according to B. Lynn Ingram, University of California Earth Science professor, a study of tree rings shows California’s current drought to be the most severe in the last 500 years.

    Not only did California receive zero rainfall this January (normally the rainiest month of the year), recent past conditions have illustrated the decline in moisture. In 2013, California received a total of 7 inches of rain; the average yearly total is 22 inches. The Sierra snowpack, which gives California 1/3 of its water, was 88% below normal as of January 30, 2013.

    In early 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the state a “primary natural disaster area,” and President Obama announced over $190 million in drought aid. With almost twice as many fires and acres burned between January and March of this year than last year, California needed more than light rain and overcast skies to pull them from this drought. Unfortunately, over four months later, California has not seen the type of precipitation to pull them out of the drought and reduce wildfires in the state.

    The lack of rain over the past few months has led some, such as the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to alert cities and companies that only 80 percent of requested treated drinking water will be provided for the rest of the year. The companies and cities losing this water typically provide it for about 1.5 million people. However, it’s not only thirsty cities receiving less treated drinking water, but irrigated farmlands are forced to turn to alternate sources of water such as wells.

    During our lifetimes, we’ve become accustomed to California being the garden of the nation, producing nearly half of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables for the whole country. The sight of fallow fields, blowing dust, or browned seedlings failing in the heat is an image we associate more with the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma back in the 1930s than with California. But that may not be the case this year unless there’s a significant change in the weather.

    National Journal reporter, Marina Koren, believes that in order “to break its historic drought, California would need to see 9 to 15 inches of precipitation in one month. That’s more than half a year’s worth of average rainfall for the state.” This lack of precipitation for the state has created water restrictions.

    A water restriction for both irrigation and drinking (whether due to drought, a chemical spill, or another emergency) is a great reason to keep your [water storage] up to date. Check out these articles to learn more about the importance of water storage:

     

    -Sharon, Kim, and Angela

    Come back in the next couple of days to check out the rest of our California Drought Series:

    Part II “The Effects of CA's Driest Year"

    Part III "How does  the CA Drought Effect your Grocery List?"

     

    Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post via the Associated Press

    Sources:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25411117/california-drought-silicon-valley-cities-and-farms-hit

    http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_stats

    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=california&MR=1

    www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/14/obama-california-drought-aid-vilsack/5479121

    www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/us/politics/obama-to-announce-aid-for-drought-racked-california.html?r=0

    www.westernfarmpress.com/blog/obama-administration-misses-boat-drought-assistance

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: California Drought, drought, natural disaster

  1. 1-10 of 72 items