Friday, June 12, 2015

Is that NOAA in Denver or Noah as rain pounds weed heaven

In Denver this spring, the heavy rains remind us of both the biblical Noah and the government agency NOAA up the foothills in Boulder. Precipitation is twice the norm for the year.

Last night brought back the memories of an Associated Press bureau chief who warned us to avoid calling things Biblical. Well, at least not unless the Cherry Creek Reservoir parted.

Walking out the door for a quick trick to a major liquor store, point seven miles away, a few rain drops were falling.

Being almost a Denver native I wore mountain spring elegant, shorts, T-Shirt and a Colbert baseball cap.

By the time I reached the nearly empty Rite Aid parking lot on S. Colorado Blvd it was falling so hard it reminded me of rain storms in Johannesburg that would stop cars in the middle of their freeways including the M1, the biggest though it might not nearly as busy as “the 5” in California.

And of course this year there has been no rain in the Golden State.

Without an umbrella I sat waiting barely 100 feet from the store entrance chatting on the phone hoping the rain would end.

After talking to several folks on mobile to kill time the rain had lightened up enough to dash 50 feet into the store and load up. I noticed the van windshield outside temperature gauge said "C 56" which would have literally meant a 132 degrees Fahrenheit.

When I drove back four-lane Yale Street was flooding and traffic limited only to the two middle lanes.

Water was pouring up out of mains or something, as well as flowing from curbs. Some of my SUV friends did not have their headlights on, SOP.

By the time I got home I swear there were salmon spawning in my driveway.

Walked in and turned the NBA playoffs back on and the power went out. Back to the liquor store.

We had no power for several hours on our side of the street but I had gotten the vodka from the freezer at Rite Aid and cooled white wine for my South African wife, who being from “Joburg” really knows rain storms.

We were able to track the playoff game on one of our mobiles. Remember, the Eagles warned “we are prisoners here of our own device.”

Forget the three grocery store pizzas we had bought earlier. Along with the liquor we had bought some sushi and cold chicken that were easy to consume by candle light.

KUSA TV reported the South Platte River was near flood stage, a rare event because of more than a hundred years of building canals to bring water from the mountains to the Mile High City. Many people who live in east Denver may have never seen the river, which the station says is often little more than “a babbling brook.”

By May 20 Denver rainfall was four inches above normal.

The Denver Post lead headline said: “Massive rainfall floods streets through Denver Metro Area.” The story said: "Pick a street, any street — in almost any location in the Denver area — and chances are it was flooded as massive amounts of rain fell Thursday evening throughout the region.”

More than two inches fell in Denver itself before the rain stopped late Thursday, but light rain had resumed Friday morning. The amounts are small compared to what had hit Houston and other cities but Denver’s storm system is not built for such amounts. And warmer weather in the mountains was sending more snowmelt downhill.

In a country where language has become increasingly incapable of describing things, using phrases like “what the fresh” for Mentos and “Menage a Trois” for wine, it was going to take work to come up with the right phrasing without being prolix. It likely may not include “climate change,” because so many are so certain it is not happening.

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