October 16, 2015

"I've never seen anything like that before, and I've lived in Southern California since I was 11."

"It got really scary really quick."

Mudslides.

"Nearly 200 vehicles, including 75 tractor-trailers, are trapped on California 58 east of Tehachapi in up to 20 feet of mud and debris after torrential rains pummeled the area and forced drivers to flee."

49 comments:

Achilles said...

Global warming.

Because there haven't been mudslides before.

rehajm said...

Global warming.

Because there haven't been mudslides before.


So will say the EPA. Fortunately the more rational amongst us are getting their boots on

Sebastian said...

SoCal is an ecological error.

Paddy O said...

The 5 ( I5 to the rest of the country), is closed down through the pass over the mountains from LA to the central valley. My parents were going to drive up today and now have to take the much longer 101.

In early September, I was driving down on the 5, and hit torrential rain in Cajon pass (where it's now closed), some of the worst rain I've ever driven in. Completely lost visibility for 3 second spurts, while driving up hill with cars all around. Everyone did fine, my toddler was laughing at the rain even, but it was pretty tense driving for me. It's a very steep stretch up and then down.

That stretch often closes during heavy snows, it gets really dumped on at times. But to have it close for mudslides like this is crazy.

David said...

Thank God the drought is ending. Pretty soon the movie stars will have their lawns back.

MadisonMan said...

Drought hardened soils don't absorb a heavy rain very well. Dead vegetation doesn't either. It gets worse before it gets better.

Tropical moisture has been creeping into SoCal a lot this late summer.

Big Mike said...

@MadMan, precisely right. They needed several light rains before the El Nino began, but they didn't get them and now they won't. When out in the hilly regions north and west of LA I've been startled by the places where people think they can build houses and not fear downpours.

Hagar said...

This storm is supposed to get here by Monday/Tuesday, but not with much oomph left in it.

Paddy O said...

This has been among the rainest summers in SoCal history. We moved up north a ways in late August, but while we were in LA county, it was like once a week or so, and has kept up. The area with the mudslides had a really big fire in late August, which closed much the same stretches. So, it's likely the burned out, no vegetation, areas, that are sliding.

Unknown said...

"I've never seen anything like that before, and I've lived in Southern California since I was 11." said 14 year old Emily.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hell's bells, man, McPhee's "The Control of Nature" published in 1989 is a fine popular account of how this phenomenon (debris flows) has been a significant thing in that area for essentially forever.
Use a satellite/aerial map tool to view the slopes above and around Pasadena. See those dry "lakes" everywhere? Those are debris catch basins, built in a modestly successful effort to mitigate the flows. Take a look at Big Tujunga Creek where it enters the city limits to see the scale of the thing.
McPhee interviews several local scientists in the book, and details their thinking on the processes that set off these flows.
Bonus (if you read the whole book): you get to learn what "pissa a hraunid" means. Also why New Orleans is doomed.

Anonymous said...

"I've never seen anything like that before..."

People's lifespans are too short to experience the full range of "normal" weather for an area.

john said...

Californians are never happy.

SteveR said...

I thought it never rained in Southern California

john said...

On a rainy and muddy day one could do worse than to visit the San Diego Model Train Museum in Balboa Park, which has a 70-scale-mile Tehachapi Pass railroad. Although there are no active mudslides, the topography includes slumps and other mass wasting and is amazingly accurate,

traditionalguy said...

So the Californians are biyching about too much rain now. Can anybody say El Niño?

Climate always changes and balances out hot with cold and dry with wet. Just wait.

Anonymous said...

SoCal gets this a lot around PCH near Malibu. It's always an issue. There is a lower layer of basalt which has become clay over the years and leads to slides, especially after a drought (or fire) and then torrential rains.

William said...

I'd rather die in an earthquake than a mudslide. Mudslides trivialize your death. Earthquakes have more of the force of destiny behind them.

Beorn said...

California Water Usage by Percent:

50%: Diverted for "environmental" causes
40%: Agriculture
10%: Urban (ie, home usage)

Most of the El Niño water will not be captured for use. Gov. Brown is working to reduce dams, not increase them. God causes droughts; govt causes water shortages.

Paul said...

Beorn...source? Interesting if verifiable.

John Scott said...

Generally speaking, the rain storms during this time of year in So Cal only occur in the mountains and desert. A high sets up over the Four Corners area causing south east winds that pump in sub-tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The SE wind keeps the onshore breeze at bay, which allows the mountains and desert to heat up. Mix thermals with saturated air and you get thunderstorms. SE winds tend to light so when the cells form they don't move anywhere fast. Hence flash flooding. The reason the LA Basin doesn't usually get rain is that despite the general SE flow the hot desert still draws in some marine air, which causes an inversion layer. Inversion layers cap thermal heights. Having said that, we have had a few days of hard rain this past summer.

gerry said...

Is fire a necessary part of any desert flora reproductive cycle?

Beorn said...

@Paul

http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=1108

Joe said...

"I've never seen anything like that before, and I've lived in Southern California since I was 11."

Then he hasn't been paying attention or is 12. California and landslides go together like mud and water.

jeff said...

When was the last reservoir built in that f'ed up state? 50 years? 10 year Marshall plan would fix things. Lots of menial labor jobs a plus.

Beorn said...

@Jeff

A runaway ideology trumps pragmatism every time. Teacher's Unions, and environmentalists run the state through their Democrat proxies in Sacramento.

Robt C said...

I lived in the foothills above the Rose Bowl back in the '90s. There was a large fire (hundreds of houses lost) and a few months later a torrential rainstorm hit. The 100-ft wide catch basin by my house blew out from all the debris. Mud and flotsam crashed down the street, sloshing back and forth like in a gutter. (It was weird to see how the houses on either side of the street alternately got hammered, while across the street was fine) All the cars parked on the street ended up a mile down, where the street ended at a T intersection. Some poor guy had a house there. Operative word: "had." Also, it's not really "Mud" as you might think of it. More like a thin brown pudding. Cars couldn't get up the relatively mild grade for a few days unless they were 4WD. After it dried the dust was god-awful for weeks.

Beorn said...

Gov. Brown mandated a mandatory 25% reduction in water use.

(Not to sound too Bernie Sanders here, but) that 25% only affects the 10% Urban use (ie, very little of the overall water use in CA).

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Why don't I quite believe in the "golf-ball-sized hail"? Is it because they are always there in stories of this kind? I concede that there might be hail the size of an actual golf ball, but if it were anything like as common as media reports make it out to be, there would be multiple fatalities from hail. There aren't. A few in the US, over the past century.

Robt C said...

Fred Drinkwater: That chapter in McPHee's (marvelous) book is about my old neighborhood. "Boulder Drive" indeed. As he points out, there's a reason all those boulders are there.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

gerry,

Is fire a necessary part of any desert flora reproductive cycle?

I don't think so. It is for forests, though.

campy said...

"When was the last reservoir built in that f'ed up state? 50 years? 10 year Marshall plan would fix things. Lots of menial labor jobs a plus."

Jobs for burly men. What's needed are clean, safe, empowering office jobs for women, providing generous child-care benefits and flexible hours. Your plan is a total non-starter.

Drago said...

MadisonMan: "Tropical moisture has been creeping into SoCal a lot this late summer."

Why "creeping"? Was it "illegal" tropical moisture?

Don't we want it to come out of the shadows?

Oh, wait. It blocks out the shadows.

Roughcoat said...


Tehachapi? Huh. I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonapah. Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made. Driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed.

Beorn said...

San Diego Model Train Museum in Balboa Park, which has a 70-scale-mile Tehachapi Pass railroad

But it does not incorporate the Tehachapi Loop?!!

Fritz said...

Mudslides in Southern California?

That'll learn 'em to pray for rain.

Alan Anderson said...

I guess Brian W was wrong: "it never rains in sunny Caiif etc, etc

john said...

Beorn, it does incorporate the "Loop". Quite a layout.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Robt C: I thought your description of the zig-zag sounded familiar. Glad to see you are above the rocks.

Beorn said...

@John,

When did they do that?

Last time I went was 2003-4(?), and it wasn't there. Great, now I've got to go back and check it out. And I'm not even a train geek.

Michael K said...

"Teacher's Unions, and environmentalists run the state through their Democrat proxies in Sacramento."

Yup. I've lived here since 1956 and have been through the drought cycle multiple times. The state had gotten dumber steadily as the average IQ in LA has declined about 10% for reasons that you can guess.

Stupid is as stupid does.

We will have a whopping el nino this winter and I'm all for it. I don't live on a bluff anymore. I damn near lost my house in 1980.

Big Mike said...

@Michael K, the outmigration of smart people to Texas and other states explains more than half that. Trouble is, they make the foolish mistake of taking their voting patterns with them.

Michael K said...

Big Mike, there are a lot of smart engineers here who make very good salaries but they are libertarian/left politically. I see lots of new high end cars driving to work on the 405. They are headed to the aerospace industry around LAX. Venice and Santa Monica are also booming as "Silicone Beach". Housing is going through the stratosphere and traffic is awful. The middle class that used to make LA work are gone. What is left is an engineer group that are mostly young and single. They live on the west side and never go near the downtown barrio. Someday they might decide to have children and then they will move away, maybe to Austin TX.

Robt C said...

Fred:
I'm now in central Texas, where my biggest concern is golf ball sized hail. (sorry Michelle)

Rhythm and Balls said...

Let it flow like a mud slide
When I get on I like to ride and glide
I've got depth of perception in my text y'all
I get props at my mention 'cause I vex y'all

So what'cha what'cha what'cha want what'cha want

Darleen said...

They live on the west side and never go near the downtown barrio

It's not just the downtown, but most of the San Fernando Valley is Little Mexico with the 1950's houses -- built for the GI's after WWII & Korea; people who worked for the major manufacturers in the area, like BF Goodrich or Ford or Kaiser -- or worked at JPL or Rocket Dyne or were the behind the camera people at the major studios.

Hell, I grew up in Granada Hills with a least a few assistant directors or actors in the neighborhood.

The houses there are bursting at the seams -- 1200 square foot 3 or 4 bedroom homes housing 10-20 people, legals/greencard/illegals.

So the house my parents bought in 1954 for $14K now goes for $450K.

SoCal -- the neo-feudalist state where the very rich and the poor can live and the working middle class has left the building along with the businesses.

iowan2 said...

'
"I've never seen anything like it before"

This is a very real human condition. A condition that leads lots of people into decisions that are poorly thought out, and conclusions that are not based in reality.
Everyone, except those that understand, consider history, what they know in their experience. Also they think the entirety of geography encompasses their personal experiences, Pretty lame.

Losts of posters have pointed out that in fact it has happened before and in the long game could be considered normal.

Thats why the climate scam people are leading the world around by the nose. emotionaly what people are told about the weather aligns with their personl experience, even though when looked at as a snap shot in a timeline that entails 100000's of years. Think about that Climate history of a very defined, short, period of years. Climate is defined in eras that are 100's of centurys long. Yet today we are wanting the remake the economy of the world by claiming a change of climate that is defined in severl decades.

iowan2 said...

"God causes droughts; govt causes water shortages."

This wins the internet for the month

Its the same reason people starve. Not famines (or drought), Governments