Run to the Hills?

 

I received the following message on my phone a little after 8 o’clock this morning:

Emergency Alert

National Weather Service: A FLASH FLOOD WARNING is in effect for this area until 11:30 AM MDT.  This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation.  Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.

Dangerous and life-threating?  A bit of rain?

I’ve somehow managed to survive 48½ monsoon seasons in Arizona — 1 in Phoenix, 47½ in Tucson.  I think that I know what a bad rainstorm looks like, and I’ve never seen one that is particularly dangerous or life-threatening.  I mean, you have to have the sense of a moderately bright elementary-school kid, and stay out of washes that are too deep.  I think that I understood this well enough when I was a novice driver back in 1983.

This is not the first such warning that I’ve seen this year.  I think that it was the fourth.  I almost wrote about it before, but when I press the wrong button on my phone, the warning disappears, and I don’t know how to get it back.  I guess that I don’t know how to operate my iPhone very well.  On the bright side, I do know how to handle a bit of rain.

I get the impression that our public officials are hysterical.  They warn us of moderate risks as if the Mongol Hordes are about to descend on our little desert pueblo.  It’s strange, to me.  It’s as if they never read that story about the little boy crying wolf.

Maybe they were too busy reading about Heather and her Two Mommies.

So I ignored the National Weather Service warning, and went to church this morning, as usual.  And there was no problem, as usual.

The NWS didn’t help its credibility with the reference to the FLASH FLOOD WARNING (their caps) being in effect “until 11:30 AM MDT.”  MDT?  Seriously?  We don’t do daylight savings time in Arizona.  Well, except on the Navajo res, but that is about 200 miles away from Tucson.  I’m not inclined to listen to someone who doesn’t know how to tell time.  Though I do have to admit that I wouldn’t have listened to them, even if they had known that I’m operating on Mountain Standard Time, as always.  MST.

These overblown, histrionic warnings do have a downside, I think.  When I get such a warning, and suspect that it is a wild exaggeration, and am proven correct, again, I file that information away in my head.  There’s a box in there labeled something like hysterical people who you should ignore.  There seem to be more and more names in that box.

The thing is, I need to know that, when my government officials issue a serious warning, it’s real.  They seem to be failing at that.  Like that little boy and his imaginary wolf, they are teaching sensible people to disregard them.  This is not a good thing.

On the bright side, I ended up teaching our Bible study this morning, winging it from my buddy Ron’s notes, as he stayed home due to the FLASH FLOOD WARNING (their caps).  I haven’t been to his house myself, but I understand that he lives in an area with some access issues, so I trust his judgment on this.

It worked out well, I think.  I’d generally prefer more than 70 minutes to prep for a lesson — including my shower and drive time —  but Ron prepares fine notes, and I actually enjoy winging it.  One of the ladies in the class said that it was the best lesson that I’ve given.  Maybe I should have Ron prepare the notes for my usual lessons, but I think that the part she liked was a departure from his notes, and a departure from any notes that I would have been likely to prepare.  The Spirit was in charge, probably.  I wish that I knew how to listen to Him more consistently.

God bless, everyone, and fear not.  Not even a bit of rain in the desert.

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  1. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    I should mention that Tucson has no storm drain system, so the roads tend to become rivers.  Flooding happens.  Greater Phoenix is more likely to have storm drain systems directing water to water retention areas.  Check out this.

    • #1
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    As Rahm Emmanuel famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” (Or words to that effect.)

    Now, the rule is that if their isn’t a crisis going, just invent one. There always must be an imminent danger in the offing that only the Government can handle.

    • #2
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    I should mention that Tucson has no storm drain system, so the roads tend to become rivers. Flooding happens. Greater Phoenix is more likely to have storm drain systems directing water to water retention areas. Check out this.

    I don’t know, Doug.  I think that 99% of our streets are fine now.

    I’ve been here long enough to remember when Alvernon and Mountain turned into rivers in the rain, back in the day.  These were fixed a good 20 years ago, I think.  Well except that one dip on Mountain just south of Ft. Lowell.  I remember when Craycroft didn’t have a bridge over the Rillito.

    There are a few trouble spots, and I have a hard time imagining that folks don’t know about them.  I mean, don’t take Camino de la Tierra through the Rillito, or Overton through the Canada del Oro, when it’s raining.  There are bridges a mile or two away in both cases.

    • #3
  4. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I get the impression that our public officials are hysterical.  They warn us of moderate risks as if the Mongol Hordes are about to descend on our little desert pueblo.  It’s strange, to me.  It’s as if they never read that story about the little boy crying wolf.

    Basically I agree. But tonight’s news was full of stories of kids playing in washes, hikers in Sabino Canyon and cars trapped in flooded dips. But if you’re that stupid……

    • #4
  5. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    So you guys are drowning and we can’t water our plants in San Fran? Mark must have a meme for this. 

    • #5
  6. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    When you get the warning, take a screenshot.  On a newer iPhone, you just squeeze the buttons on both sides of the phone to take a picture of your screen-it goes to Photos.

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I get the impression that our public officials are hysterical. They warn us of moderate risks as if the Mongol Hordes are about to descend on our little desert pueblo. It’s strange, to me. It’s as if they never read that story about the little boy crying wolf.

    Basically I agree. But tonight’s news was full of stories of kids playing in washes, hikers in Sabino Canyon and cars trapped in flooded dips. But if you’re that stupid……

    Yeah, I used to play in washes all of the time as a kid.  No problem, ever.  Of course, even at age 8, I wasn’t stupid enough to play in the Tanque Verde in flood, which was the one close to my house.  I did used to play in a small, unnamed local neighborhood wash, where the water never got deeper than about 6 inches.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…:

    I received the following message on my phone a little after 8 o’clock this morning:

    Emergency Alert

    I disable those on my phone.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I file that information away in my head.  There’s a box in there labeled something like hysterical people who you should ignore.

     

     

    • #9
  10. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    That’s probably why so many people stayed behind during Katrina:  They’d seen so many warnings from hysterical C-Y-A bureaucrats in the past, “RUNFORYOURLIVES,”  they probably figured Katrina was a nothing-burger, too.

    • #10
  11. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I get the impression that our public officials are hysterical.  They warn us of moderate risks as if the Mongol Hordes are about to descend on our little desert pueblo.  It’s strange, to me.  It’s as if they never read that story about the little boy crying wolf.

    If they fail to warn sufficiently of some event they are crucified for not having prevented any loss of life or property. If they over dramatize some coming event they can simply say later that things fortunately turned out to be less hazardous than predicted or they can take credit for having prevented losses. So the incentives are skewed against issuing a reasonable statement prior to any possible weather event. That’s why many of us take the warnings with a very large grain of salt. Using your own judgement is always a good policy. Take into account the advice of ‘experts’ but season it with a knowledge of the incentives extant.  That said, playing in a ‘wash’ during a storm or building in a flood prone area seems to me to be rather foolish.  We used to give people the right to make foolish choices as long as they bore the consequences.

    • #11
  12. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I thought Phoenix was flat and that flat places don’t get flash floods.    Does AZ push the slogan “turn around.  don’t drown”?

    • #12
  13. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I get the impression that the intensity of the warnings is increasing while the intensity of the weather events is not.  In my part of Maryland, TV broadcasts override all channels to deliver weather warnings in English then in Spanish. I am urged to take shelter.  But I am only seeing the alert because I am home watching cable TV. So does this info actually reach anybody who is out and about and presumably at risk? It is often already raining when the alert starts.  

    If we pay people to generate alerts, do they have an incentive to be non-selective in choosing the events to warn us about? Is there a danger alert industrial complex out there?  Climate scientists have enormous incentives to generate scary scenarios.  Does that infect all weather guys too?

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The weather app on my phone has alerts and warnings for all areas.  I read them every time, then go back to whatever I was doing.  It does have a slick little notice of how far away the last reported lightning was.  I like thunderstorms, so that gives me something to look forward to if there’s lightning nearby (from the comfort of home, of course).

    • #14
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    I thought Phoenix was flat and that flat places don’t get flash floods. Does AZ push the slogan “turn around. don’t drown”?

    I’m in Tucson, not Phoenix.

    But I’ve been to Phoenix, and lived there for a while, and it’s not flat.

    • #15
  16. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    When I was at Ft. Huachuca (Somebody had to keep an eye on those Apaches during the Vietnam War–you’re welcome, America) we rented off-base space in Bisbee.  To get there, one had to cross the San Pedro River.  There was a bridge (looks rebuilt since) and a sign that said it was a river and more plants and trees than anywhere else nearby but no visible water.  Those of us from non-arid climes where named bodies of water invariably contain water mocked the San Pedro. 

    And then there was one weekend after it rained for some absurd period of time when the road was underwater and impassable and much of the surrounding desert looked flooded.  But it did not last long subsided almost completely.  After that we called it the “raging San Pedro” still mocking but a little impressed.  There were a bunch of flowering colors away from the river a few days later which I was told is a normal desert thing.

    • #16
  17. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Up here in the Phoenix area, I’m “flooded” with the same warnings. The new warning is “LIGHTNING HAS STRUCK IN YOUR AREA. SHELTER IN PLACE FOR 30 MINUTES!”

    30 minutes… for lightning? How weak are we?

    I grew up in north Phoenix where we were hit with 100-year or 500-year floods for about three years in a row. (Late ’70s probably?) The suburban streets all turned into rivers, so all us kids got out our pool rafts and rode the rapids. It was a blast.

    • #17
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Because they now have the ability to send warning via phone, they can’t let that ability go to waste.  They must send warnings.

    Give a five year old a hammer, he’s going to find a lot of things that need hammering.

    • #18
  19. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    To sorta defend the people issuing these warnings – a lot of people have recently moved to Arizona, people who have no idea what a flash flood really looks like, or how easily and quickly they could get swept into one. They may truly need to be warned.

    On the other hand, the warnings very well could be created by some computer algorithm running on a computer in Iowa based on numerical input data with no oversight by any actual human being who has any familiarity with actual Arizona weather and ground conditions. 

    • #19
  20. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

     

    Jerry, with all due respect, not everyone survived the flash floods in Arizona this weekend.

    https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/pima-police-4-year-old-girl-who-was-swept-away-during-flash-flooding-did-not-survive

    https://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article253036703.html

    • #20
  21. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Well, having witnessed 2 flash floods coming down dry washes, one in Utah and one north of Albuquerque, I think I would take them seriously.  The cload burst in Utah was at least 5 miles away, on a otherwise perfectly sunny day. 

    • #21
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    To sorta defend the people issuing these warnings – a lot of people have recently moved to Arizona, people who have no idea what a flash flood really looks like, or how easily and quickly they could get swept into one. They may truly need to be warned.

    On the other hand, the warnings very well could be created by some computer algorithm running on a computer in Iowa based on numerical input data with no oversight by any actual human being who has any familiarity with actual Arizona weather and ground conditions.

    Yes, it was not so long ago that a family was wiped out, 10 dead,  when they floated on Ellison Creek. A storm upstream dumped enough water to fill the creek bed with a lethal churning mix of downed branches, mud, and water.

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    A friend of mine once bought one of those weather radios that sound alerts from the NWS.  He finally got tired of all the nighttime warnings and turned the thing off.  The final straw was some alert (I think flooding) for a town 50 miles away . . .

    • #23