There is flooding throughout Northern California, with power outages, mudslides and water-logged roads causing major problems in many cities. I-80, I-505 and Highway 16 have been closed in the areas closest to my home and sandbags are being filled like crazy here. But this should come as no surprise to anyone living in the Sacramento Region. Although we haven’t had flooding since 1998 (the year of El Nino), it was bound to happen again and it’s because the city was built on a wetland.

Yes, precautions like building levees and digging out overflow areas have been taken, but can we ever really subvert what Mother Nature wants? I think not, especially when we’re covering the land, which used to soak up the water, with pavement and houses. Of course your house is going to flood.

I’ve always thought about this during the rainy season here because people complain so much about the rain and the flood water, but do they honestly expect any different? Just because Sacramento doesn’t look like a wetland/flood plain anymore doesn’t mean that it isn’t one.

I do hope that everyone makes it out safe though. Here in Yolo emergency workers have been evacuating families since early yesterday and moving the elderly from retirement homes and nursing homes to higher ground and non-flooded areas. Every town surrounding me has suffered major flooding and instead of being out there volunteering to fill sandbags and help displaced people, I’ve been out to the levees and driving around looking for stranded people so I can interview them for a good story. It’s no wonder so many reporters seem so jaded, like me.

But I do feel I’m providing a public service. I’ve been writing about this flood since days before it happened and giving the people the information they need to know in order to get out safely. Because of newspapers and news channels people know who they should contact, what they should prepare, where shelters are, where the floods will happen first and when they should get out.

Well, that made me feel a little better at least. I know some of you have been out volunteering to help with flood victims and filling sandbags and I commend you for your efforts. I hope the levees hold up. From what I saw yesterday, they don’t have much hope if the water gets too high because the waters are flowing so fast and the wind and rain is only getting worse.

For those of you who don’t know what a levee is, it’s just a big wall of dirt along the riverbanks to serve as a speed bump for the water when it gets too high. Cache Creek only has one more foot to go before it makes it over the levee, which is fine. The real problems start when the levee gives out and there’s no speed bump there. To reinforce it they were putting thick plastic, called Visquine, over the levee so the dirt won’t wash away and they were holding them down with more than 3,000 sandbags. All done by volunteers and Dept. of Water Resources workers.

For information on what you can do to prepare or help click:
Sacramento Red Cross
Yolo Red Cross
American Red Cross

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