Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2004
Winter Windy Land
I nearly didn't go in to work this morning because I still wasn't feeling well. When I arrived, the day started out slow. By lunch time, everything changed. Thank God, by that time I was also feeling better. As it turned out, I needed it.
While it was nothing in comparison to the catastrophe on the opposite side of the planet, Arizona got pounded by storms today. In my immediate area, we've gotten rain and lots of wind, enough for minor street flooding and debris either washed away or blown away - I originally thought it was nothing too serious, but just got more information as I was writing this and had to stop, rewrite a news story for morning and produce the audio, and then come back here to revise.
The city of Globe is without power. Police agencies are asking folks to please stay off the streets. At least one power line snapped and a major transformer blew. At last report there were about 2700 customers in town without power. That isn't just 2700 people - it's homes, businesses, etc. That means homes of four, five, or six people count as one customer. Ditto for entire apartment complexes where utilities are paid.
Some areas probably won't be restored until sometime tomorrow morning at least. I expect that I'll be out with my camera tomorrow, taking pictures from the time that the sun comes up. Several businesses, including restaurants that stand to lose perishable food supplies, have already been without power for nearly three and a half hours.
The area of the radio station was without power for about an hour this afternoon due to a fallen power line, presumably weather related. This is apparently a little more serious.
In other words, it ain't pretty out there.
About 200 miles northwest of us, in the town of Sedona, things were considerably more serious. The newspapers are behind the times - before the day was out they had to evacuate people from rooftops because of flooding. Oak Creek was flowing over its bridges, so naturally the highway was closed.
Sedona, population about 10,000, is wedged into a narrow valley, with steep canyon walls on either side, and therein lies an even bigger problem. Officials say that today's storm actually may have compromised the integrity of those walls. If that's the case, the immediate flooding is only a small part of the problem. A narrow highway winds in hairpin turns southward and down in elevation from Flagstaff to Sedona. It follows the natural course of the canyon. All along the road, you can see evidence of ancient volcanic activity. Basalt chimneys rise in vertical gray-green channels that cut through surrounding red rock, reminding you that once this land was volatile in a different way. A little further north, near Flagstaff, the San Francisco peaks still hold their cinder-cone shape.
There were already a few slide areas noticeable when I was in college a few years ago. (I attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and was in a geology class - we did an analysis of the region as part of a class project.) I can very well imagine that this situation hasn't done anything to stablize conditions.
I'm going to sign off and make a run to the store, if the store's open. A while ago they were still without power - and this is the grocery that's only two blocks from me. Fortunately it's in the Wal Mart complex and I figure that will be pretty high priority for the electric company, so hopefully the electricity is back on there tonight.
Wish me luck, and tell Michael to quit sending his California weather to us. Though I really do appreciate his advance warning - it has been a nice tool for me to predict our local weather. When the L.A. area gets hammered, it normally hits us 2-3 days later.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )