It wasn’t so long ago that California prayed for rain. Something to quench the climate-change-fueled drought — the worst in at least 1,200 years — that has caused farm fields to wither and wells to run dry. To ease the blistering heat waves that triggered power outages and sent thousands to emergency rooms. To extinguish the wildfires that have ravaged forests, destroyed communities and blackened the skies.
Now, the water that Californians so desperately wanted is pummeling them like a curse. It’s surging over riverbanks and rushing through communities, toppling drought-stressed trees, turning scorched mountainsides into avalanches of mud. The storms cut off power to roughly 150,000 customers across the state Tuesday. The flooding prompted evacuations in Montecito and other parts of Santa Barbara County, and swept away a 5-year-old boy who still has not been found. Officials said at least 16 people have been killed by the storms of the past two weeks — more than the number of lives lost in wildfires over the last two years.
The recent onslaught of atmospheric rivers has underscored the perils of California’s climate paradox: Rising global temperatures are making the region drier, hotter and more fire-prone, but they also increase the likelihood of sudden, severe rainfall. Experts say the state is not prepared for periods of too much water, even as it struggles to make do without enough...MORE
Is there any mention at all of the fires and their relationship to the flooding?
Yes, finally at the end of this long post there is this:
Residents said recent fires and drought made their community even more vulnerable to this year’s storms. In 2020, the Lightning Complex fires scorched more than 86,000 acres across the region, including the towering redwood forests of Big Basin state park. Now, the burned areas are less able to absorb the onslaught of rain. Slopes are collapsing without vegetation to hold the soaked soil in place. Dead trees are being ripped from their roots and carried downstream.
“All the trees up and down the hillside that have been burned, they’re flooding up the river, so the river can’t run freely,” Bethany Rogers said. She had fled her home in the Felton Groves community north of Santa Cruz during the fires. On Sunday, she had to evacuate again.