On Sunday we had a 30% chance of rain for Friday, but I sorta talked it down as Hanna was expected to be due East of us, serving to suppress our rain chances. Well, Hanna showed its “maverick” side and decided to stay put in the Bahamas for a few days. That finicky nature of Hanna will allow for a front coming from the Northwest to actually get here with some moisture from the remains of Gustav that as of Wednesday morning had dropped 15-20 inches of rain in parts of Louisiana…and more fell during the day on Wednesday. Flooding is a problem, to say the least.
Now, Thursday we will have a lot of dry air here for a good part of the day. Toward evening, the moisture starts to to gather and its possible that there may be some strong storms in the evening, especially to the northwest. As the boundary moves through, a relatively thin line of moisture will string out along the boundary and give us a fairly decent chance of rain. The weekend looks pretty good with slightly cooler temperatures. Then, early in the week, a strong cold front looks to move through. Not only will it drop our temperatures considerably…perhaps to the 40’s for some parts of the area in the overnights. That front will determine the future of Hurricane Ike. For a the Wednesday night chat about Ike and Hanna, CLICK HERE.
On This Date In History:
On this date in 1846, Daniel Hudson Burnham was born. He may not be a household name but he sorta set the pathway of modern American cities. He had muddled his way through his early life, feeling poorly for not getting into Yale or Harvard. After a time out west, he returned to his native Chicago and apprenticed as a draftsman. As is often the case, unintended consequences ruled the day. He met another draftsman, John Root. Root was quiet, dilligent and quite the whiz at Physics. Contrarily, Burnham had flirted with politics in an attempt to harness his outgoing ways and ability to communicate and get along with people. After the 1871 Chicago Fire, architects were in great demand to rebuild the city and Burnham teamed up with Root to form a historic firm. Burnham had the ideas and the ability to make deals while Root had the ability to put the ideas into designs and make those dreams happen. They went on not only to help usher in the era of skyscrapers, but also Burnham is credited with having the vision to see the future of urban growth and so he put in plans for parks and a waterfront set aside for recreational use in Chicago. That plan was a key blueprint to many of America’s great cities. Cities like Houston didnt have time to look at the blueprint as the lack of zoning laws and unrestricted growth resulted in a free spirit of entreprenuerial growth and creation with the result from lack of planning being a city lacking in some character. When Burnham died, famed Architech Frank Lloyd Wright said that he “was not a great architect, but he was a great man.” Click Here for a brief Burnham Biography.
Several years ago, I told a news director that I worked for that the greatest environmental concern of the future would be the lack of useable water. We are growing crops in areas that are not indigenous to a particular region that need a great deal of water. West Texas is large producer of cotton, which requires a lot of water. But because of the climate there, insects are not a problem. So, they get the water from a large aquifer that goes from the Dakotas to West Texas. But, so much water is being used for irrigation that it can’t be recharged fast enough. Here’s what one website has to say:
“The Ogallala Aquifer is being both depleted and polluted. Irrigation withdraws much groundwater, yet little of it is replaced by recharge. Since large-scale irrigation began in the 1940s, water levels have declined more than 30 meters (100 feet) in parts of Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. In the 1980s and 1990s, the rate of groundwater mining, or overdraft, lessened, but still averaged approximately 82 centimeters (2.7 feet) per year.Increased efficiency in irrigation continues to slow the rate of waterlevel decline. State governments and local water districts throughout the region have developed policies to promote groundwater conservation and slow or eliminate the expansion of irrigation. Generally, management has emphasized planned and orderly depletion, not sustainable yield. Depletion results ”
Then there are major cities in the desert, like Phoenix, that grab all water from resevoirs. Then there are cities like Houston and Tampa that rapidly deplete groundwater sources. In Houston that has resulted in subsidence and in Florida, the danger of saltwater intrusion into underground aquifers.
T. Boone Pickens has gotten a lot of pub for his vision for the energy needs of the future. But did you know that he has or is buying up huge amounts of water rights in Texas? He knows that cities like Dallas need water and water is the key to life. So he wants to build a very long pipeline from his water to Dallas and sell his water. You’ve heard me harp on the evils of water pollution and how the country is focused on Global Warming that may or may not be something we can or should do something about instead of focusing on how we are poisoning our water. The citation above mentions pollution as a problem for the Ogalla Aquifer in the midwest. I’m all for visionary solutions to problems. One concern I have about Pickens’ plan is that his water rights are in West Texas. Its a desert. The only thing I can conclude is his water rights includee the Ogalla Aquifer, which if he starts selling it to Dallas, then it will only enhance the problem of aquifer depletion. In the case of Burnham, unintended consequences were a good thing. But, quite often, apparent solutions to one problem, only result in creating unintended dire problems elsewhere.