Flooding Drought Comes To California

Regulars here will know that I’ve complained about the Palmer Drought Index before. Why? For the simple reason that it does not compare rain now with historical averages to determine drought, but compares it to temperature adjusted values, and we know the temperature data is fudged and adjusted way too much to compare ‘now’ to the ‘the historical baseline’. It’s just a broken index since the temperature data on which it depends has been buggered. Yeah, still better than nothing, but not by much, and with a load of caveats needed if you use it.


The Palmer drought index, sometimes called the Palmer drought severity index and often abbreviated PDSI, is a measurement of dryness based on recent precipitation and temperature. It was developed by meteorologist Wayne Palmer, who first published his method in the 1965 paper Meteorological Drought for the Office of Climatology of the U.S. Weather Bureau.

So it might have been a good measure in the ’60s when it was developed, but with buggered temperature data it is highly misleading. Why not just say “Average precipitation is FOO cm and now we have BAR where the ratio is 60% of normal, so it is a drought.”?

The Palmer Drought Index is based on a supply-and-demand model of soil moisture. Supply is comparatively straightforward to calculate, but demand is more complicated as it depends on many factors – not just temperature and the amount of moisture in the soil but hard-to-calibrate factors including evapotranspiration and recharge rates. Palmer tried to overcome these difficulties by developing an algorithm that approximated them based on the most readily available data – precipitation and temperature.

In other words: Given the most easy to get data, what simple method can we cook up to make an “answer” even though we don’t have data for the factors that actually matter and don’t know how the system is really working.

Critics have complained that the utility of the Palmer index is weakened by the arbitrary nature of Palmer’s algorithms, including the technique used for standardization. The Palmer index’s inability to account for snow and frozen ground also is cited as a weakness.

The Palmer index is widely used operationally, with Palmer maps published weekly by the United States Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also has been used by climatologists to standardize global long-term drought analysis. Global Palmer data sets have been developed based on instrumental records beginning in the 19th century. In addition, dendrochronology has been used to generate estimated Palmer index values for North America for the past 2000 years, allowing analysis of long term drought trends. The Index has also been used as a means of explaining the late Bronze Age collapse.

So we get our nice little tree ring folks in the mix too. I wonder if they are used as temperature proxy or as water proxy, given that tree rings respond to both… (and sun levels and nitrogen levels and …) I note in passing that the Late Bronze Age collapse was the start of what is called the Iron Age Cold Period. We get drought when the world is cold, and at the bottom of an Ice Age Glacial global dust levels rise dramatically in a severe drought. But the Wiki isn’t about to mention that…

Back at California

So California is in a Palmer Drought. From:


Palmer Drought map July 2015

Palmer Drought map July 2015

Looks pretty grim, doesn’t it?

Well, I took a look at the data for San Jose, California (where we are being told our lawns need to die and we all need to think about skipping the occasional shower – that by law must be using a “gets you slightly damp” water saving showerhead anyway – and can only do ANY outside watering on 2 or 3 days of the week (they keep changing things). From Wunderground and their Historical Almanac, we can get the rainfall for the last “water year” of July to July:

Daily Weekly Monthly Custom
Max Avg Min Sum
Precipitation 3.23 in 0.04 in 0.00 in 13.20 in

So while our historical norm is about 15 inches per year, we got only 13.2 per year. All of about 2 inches shy of average. Given that precipitation can vary by that much in one storm, not exactly what you would think of as drought of historical proportions. In fact, I’d figure that for urban growth planning you would put water availability at one standard deviation below the mean and only call it a drought below that point. Then again, I’m interested in making things work right, not political headlines…

So it’s a drought, but IMHO not by a whole lot.

Yesterday it rained here again. Not much, just a sprinkle, but a bit unusual. I’d say very unusual for a ‘severe drought’, but we’ve had this happening lately. Makes a fellow go “Hmmm….”

Similarly, Texas was shown as being in an End Of Days Drought Of Biblical Proportions… even while it was being flooded…


So why this posting? Well, seems that the “Flooding Drought” has come to California, too. Notice on the map that particularly dark red area in the Sierra Nevada mountains (follow along the Nevada / California border) and the red down near Southern California in the desert areas toward Arizona? Now look at this flood warning map:

From: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/view/largemap.php

Flood Hazards in California July 20 2015

Flood Hazards in California July 20 2015

Yup, you got it. It’s that Sneaky Flooding Drought again. All along that dark red spine of the Sierra Nevada it is also a dark green flood hazard; and even out in the desert of California. On out to the coastal areas near Santa Barbara too. (Just north of the Los Angeles basin proper).

Surprising? Not in any normal year. This is just the “Flash Flood” hazard, and is directly related to single rain events, while the drought index looks at longer term averages. In any normal year, there’s a significant risk of flash flooding from a single large storm that “dumps a load” and moves on. But I suggest that in a drought of Biblical Proportions, it is unusual. So which is wrong? The hazard map, or the Palmer Drought map? Might this really be an ordinary year, a bit dry but not by much, over hyped by statistical manipulations and over building population centers in a desert climate to beyond the 1-sigma carry capacity? Is there an existence proof that this might be a bit out of the ordinary rainfall?


Part of Interstate 10 Collapses After Heavy Rains in California

Andrew Dalton and Tami Abdollah

AP July 19, 2015 Updated: July 20, 2015 2:39 AM ET

A driver who crashed in the collapse had to be extracted

(LOS ANGELES) — An elevated section of Interstate 10 collapsed Sunday amid heavy rains in the California desert, injuring one driver, stranding many others, and halting travel for thousands by cutting off both directions of a main corridor between Southern California and Arizona.

“Interstate 10 is closed completely and indefinitely,” said Terri Kasinga, spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.

A bridge for eastbound traffic about 15 feet above a normally dry wash about 50 miles west of the Arizona state gave way and ended up in the flooding water below, the California Highway Patrol said, blocking all traffic headed toward Arizona.

They also closed the westbound direction as that part of the road, while not collapsed, had significantly been undermined.

For those not in the USA, the Interstate Highway System was built under Eisenhower for military transport. (Back in his day they actually understood the Constitution and it essentially forbid using Federal money for things not ‘enumerated’ in the Constitution… so they had to say these were military roads to legally spend the money). There is a Federal Specification for these roads that requires bridge strength and clearances so that you can drive military transports on them. In San Jose, a chunk of the State highway 17 was renumbered to Interstate 880 and handed over to The Feds for maintenance. That act required inspection and approval of all bridges and clearances for overpasses as sufficient to carry military transports. Basically, this isn’t some half assed road in the middle of nowhere. It’s a world class road in the middle of nowhere ;-)

I-10 is THE major east / west corridor of the USA. Yes, there are others ( I’ve driven all of them at one time or another). I-8 was added south of it to take some SoCal traffic (from San Diego) off of I-10 when it became too popular. I-40 runs north of it (through Flagstaff Az and snow country). Go higher still, you get to I-80 that runs through the middle of Nevada at Reno (and closes when the snow is too heavy in Donner Pass). There’s also an I-70 that splits off of I-80 to Colorado, and doesn’t make it to California, and an I-90 way up in Montana. All of them are important, and carry a lot of traffic (especially in summer when the snows are gone). BUT, in cold weather, it is I-10 that is open and clear and gets the traffic.

Update: Here’s a map of the location of the washout (middle of nowhere Mojave desert) and showing bypass roads north and south of it. Not big enough to carry full I-10 volume (except maybe I-8 to the south) but “enough” to get past. Personally, since I’m coming from far north, I can either take I-80 if staying north, or drop down to I-40 for Dallas and then on to Florida or “wherever”. I’ve often taken I-40 just out of boredom with the “crossing LA” and then I-10 forever. It’s a nice road (at least when it isn’t full of snow and chains required …)

Click on the map for a very big view. “Local” bypass would be highway 62 / 117 to the north (or 62 / 95 for a longer run but with 95 being larger than 117) and alternately 86 / 78 or 86 / 111 / 78 around the bottom (or if ‘going on through’ then 86 / 111 to I-8 or 86 / 78 / 111 to I-8 as I-8 merges back in with I-10 at Casa Grande just south of Phoenix. When returning from Florida last time I took I-10 to I-8 to 85 to avoid Phoenix. Would have been quite happy to just take I-8 on in further and then head north (at about any point).

So not too hard a ‘bypass’ to work out, but a ‘crimp’ for those folks wanting to do a quick 6 hour run from L.A. to Phoenix… Folks not doing the LA/Phoenix thing can easily swing high or low around this.

Location of I-10 washout and bypass roads.

Location of I-10 washout and bypass roads.

Sidebar on I-numbers: USA has an interesting numbering system for highways. Odd numbers run North / South, so I-5 runs from San Diego to Seattle. Even runs East West, so the 10, 40, 70, 80, 90 etc. above. Small numbers on N/S are in the West. (So I-3 is in Hawaii. For details on how you can have an “interstate” highway on an Island, see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/hawaii.cfm) From that, you can easily guess that I-95 runs N/S on the East Coast. Small numbers on E/W are in the south, so I-8 is south of I-10 (but merges into it just past Phoenix) and I-20 is north of I-10 (and splits off from it in the Middle Of Nowhere Texas headed for Dallas) Three digit numbers are a “bypass’ of some other Interstate. So I-680 is the sixth bypass on I-80 (and connects from up near the Bay Delta down to San Jose). Lately they ran out of single digit bypass numbers so started doing reuse… so you will find 880 in the SF Bay Area and another 880 bypassing Sacramento.

The point here being that that particular chunk of road is a Very Big Deal. Gets regular maintenance and inspections. Is built to take very heavy loads (think “tank on a truck”) and stand up in just about any reasonably expected weather. That it’s had a washout is a very big deal and a very big surprise.

BTW, I last drove over that bit of road in the drive back from Florida a few months ago… So I know that chunk of road. I’ve driven it dozens of times.

The TIME article goes on:

“Oh my God, we are so stuck out here,” Browne told the Desert Sun newspaper. “There’s no end to the cars that are stuck out here.”

The rains came amid a second day of showers and thunderstorms in southern and central California that were setting rainfall records in what is usually a dry month.

Rain fell Sunday afternoon in parts of Los Angeles County’s mountains, the valley north and inland urban areas to the east. The city also was expected to get a late repeat of Saturday’s scattered showers and occasional downpours as remnants of tropical storm Dolores brought warm, muggy conditions northward.

“We have a chance of some more heavy rain in LA County this evening, thunderstorms, lightning, possibly some localized street flooding,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sirard.

The showers forced the Los Angeles Angels’ first rainout in 20 years and the San Diego Padres’ first rainout since 2006.

Saturday’s rainfall broke records in at least 11 locations, including five places that had the most rain ever recorded on any day in July,
Sirard said.

Now a ‘one in 20 years’ rainout is NOT a freak event. It’s a 1 in 20 unusual but normal event. What is odd is having a 1 in 20 freak rain event in what is supposed to be a Drought Of Historic Proportions… Thus my complaint about the Palmer Drought Index when used with buggered temperature data.

The “most rain ever” for “any day in July”, however, IS a freak event… Those damn Flooding Droughts can be real sneaky things ;-)

Another story of the event, from a local TV station IIRC what KTLA does, is here and includes pictures of the bridge over the “dry” wash from the side:


Bridge Collapses Amid Heavy Rains East of Indio, Prompting Full Closure of 10 Freeway

POSTED 8:05 PM, JULY 19, 2015, BY JOHN A. MORENO, UPDATED AT 11:43PM, JULY 19, 2015
A 30-foot-by-50-foot section of the eastbound side of the interstate “is washed away and the bridge is gone,” according to an incident report on a CHP website.

A pickup truck went over the side of the roadway in the collapse, which was first reported at 4:43 p.m. and left the driver trapped inside after a passenger got out, according to the Highway Patrol and Cal Fire’s Riverside division.

Other motorists used tow straps to secure the vehicle to a guardrail, preventing the truck from being swept away in the Tex Wash, said Jennifer Fuhrman, spokeswoman for the fire agency.

I’m especially fond of that bit about the “other motorists” taking action and improvising with tow straps an anchor for the truck. Makes me think maybe we haven’t lost all of our “Can Do” attitude and willingness for Citizen Action when and where needed. Damn the legalities and niceties, we need to save that guy’s life… Gotta luv it.

In the side shot from their site you can see that the bridge isn’t very high. It is only to cover a ‘wash’ area for the infrequent desert rains. You really ought to ‘hit the link’ and read their article / see their pictures, but I’m linking to one of their pictures here:

Washout on I-10 at Tex-wash

Washout on I-10 at Tex-wash

Yeah… rapid water in a sandy desert can erode fast and far. But it’s not usual to get that much water in such a dry wash and the approaches are usually protected with cement or rip rap (rocks and such). You can see some on the left side of the photo, but that on the right has been washed away.

Foreman to DC Boss: “Boss, we gotta get us some bigger rocks…” ;-)

In Conclusion

My point here is pretty simple. Say to folks that it’s a Drought Of Biblical Proportions and that rain is a thing of the past and that it’s Perma-Drought from here on out; and they stop thinking about the usual and ordinary flash floods. They certainly don’t start inspection and preparation for the “100 year flood event”.

The result is things like this washout on I-10.

Lying to yourselves (or worse, to others) using statistical manipulations of data, and using bent temperature data instead of actual rainfall amounts to define a “drought” just causes trouble.

But it’s what we have, now, from our Special Interest Owned and UN Operated government in Washington D.C.

So expect to see more “Flooding Droughts” coming soon to an area near you…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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18 Responses to Flooding Drought Comes To California

  1. Julian Jones says:

    … flood / droughts have become a way of life in UK – largely because of at least a half century of lack of oversight of agricultural development (soil compaction & loss of humus). Not that hard to fix in engineered terms … a different matter for our Special Interest Owned UK government. Could double farm productivity through irrigating with captured rainwater (95% typically lost to sea or evaporation) and other on-farm measures to recharge aquifers.

    slides 12 -> 16 : http://www.water21.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Flood__Drought_Water21_1.pdf

    5 min film : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4phv7yAk7I

    Rajendra Singh transforming arid farming in Rajasthan through similar : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32002306

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    The Bonneville Speedweeks event in August was just canceled due to flooding on the salt. This is a big deal in the 66 years that the SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) and other similar organizations like the USFRA (Utah Salt Flats Racing Association) have been holding racing events annually on the salt the number or complete rainouts of the premier event Bonneville Speed Week could be counted on the fingers of one hand. 1982,83 and 1992 as I recall with a few rain shortened events. They had torrential rains last year that washed out almost all the events, and this year they could only find 2.25 miles of dry salt suitable for racing (normally this time of year they have a area up to 11 miles long that is dry and hard enough to try to set land speed records on.) This year the rains have continued into the early summer so that the salt has never fully dried out and hardened. Plus the rains last year washed a lot of silt down on the flats.

    Oh by the way El Mirage dry lake is also flooded due to recent rain.

    May and June was very wet here in Colorado with long soaking rains, it has only recently returned to near normal summer weather but so far no blistering hot days as you would expect in late July, in fact this morning around 10:00 it was in the mid 70’s with a cool breeze and now at almost 2:00 pm when you would normally be flirting with 90 deg temps it is only 82. It is clear that much of the country has shifted into a cool wet cycle recently.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    We are not suffering from a record drought here in California. We are suffering from a record level of mismanagement by government officials. Some due to record levels of ignorance and some to a record level of arrogance in favor of special interests. pg

  4. hillbilly33 says:

    In gullible Australia, those named here are still the “go to” ‘experts’ for our ABC and other alarmist CAGW organisations. Although it was never brought out in the subsequent Inquiry into the devastating Brisbane floods of 2011, many here believe that because of the disastrous predictions of Tim Flannery, David Karoly and others about never-ending drought and soil too hot for any run-off from said to be diminishing rains, release of water from the dam designed to minimise flooding was delayed. This contributed to the severity of the flooding when water was finally released.

    Because of the same people, Flannery in particular, we now have hugely expensive de-salination plants scattered round the coastline, some of which have never been used commercially and probably never will, but still costing a fortune in upkeep.

    Flannery also lucked out with his “prediction” the Arctic ice cap would be gone by 2015, yet some brainwashed idiots still hang on his every word and fall over each other to send him money, if there’s not a Labor/Green Government in power to shovel bucket-loads of cash his way!


  5. Wyguy says:

    Wow, pickup truck driver was lucky, he was very close to Hell, as I remember the highway. Once spent a summer at Eagle Mountain as a teen unloading freight cars.

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    One thing I don’t understand is once the build a de-salination plant why would you ever leave it completely idle or never powered up to operational status as some locations do. Power it up and run it a few months every year or at a minimum output idle capacity so all the maintenance is continued and it is ready to bring on line at full song when ever needed.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added a map with the location marked, along with choices for bypass routes noted.

    @Larry Ledwick:

    While it is what I would do (keep it in good working order at modest use rates) so it was on “hot standby”, that isn’t what politicians do. For example, in Santa Barbara, they mothballed it. It is now getting a multi-million dollar upgrade (the control computers still use floppy disks, for example…) and will undoubtedly be ready for use just as this drought ends. But, in the mean time, they saved the high operating costs for the plant for the 30? years since it was built…

    From a politicians point of view, they were “doing something” when it was built, and sent contract money to their “donors”, and then they were “saving money” after it was built by not using it, and now they are “doing something” by sending money to their friends and donors for the “upgrade”, and will soon be “saving money” again… All without ever needing to actually make the plant run…


    The location of the washout is: 33°41’4.9″N 115°28’10.1″W5

    Hell, California is located at: 33°41′27″N 115°16′22″W


    Hell is a locale in Riverside County, California, United States, approximately 29 miles (47 km) west of Blythe on Interstate 10.

    So my eyeball of the map puts the washout about 20 miles west of Hell…

    Hell was founded by Charles Carr in 1954. As of 1958 Carr, his wife, and their ten-year-old son Terry were the only inhabitants. Carr also served as the lone member of Hell’s Chamber of Commerce.

    Hell was abandoned in the late 1950s or early 1960s when it was isolated by the construction of U.S. Route 60 and 70. Its remains were demolished and burned by the California State Division of Highways in late 1964 to make way for what would eventually become Interstate 10. Prior to its demise Hell had a service station, a beer tavern, and a good supply of drinking water.

    Something I did not know… Thanks for that diversion ;-)


    We in California have some of the same behaviours, though not quite as large a scale.

    Somehow nobody thinks of building these things in shipping containers and putting them where needed as needed… Oh Well…


    Sounds about right to me…


    Love the headline in that second link:

    ITV REPORT 13 June 2012 at 4:07pm

    Hosepipe bans lifted after ‘wettest drought in history’

    Nice to know we are not alone in the “flooding drought” club… you have my condolences for being a member too ;-)

    @Larry Ledwick:

    Didn’t know about the salt flats… Rather interesting that it is so wide spread a phenomenon.

    Wonder if the “Salt Drinking Lake” in Argentina is filling up again…. (Somebody wake up Adolfo so we can get a report ;-)

    @Julian Jones:

    That first link of yours is, um, er, a bit bizarre. I suspect the “21” in the title is a reference to Agenda21 and it then launches into some of the more hairbrained claims I’ve seen in a while.

    At the end, it gets back to sanity with some potentially decent soils science and water engineering ideas, but really, the lead-in just kills it for me.

    “Flood = Drought”

    Really? They actually claim that? The only reason we have “flooding droughts” is because the Palmer Drought Index is brain dead. In any sane world when the rains come, the drought is over. Under the Palmer index, you can be in a drought with above average rain and a buggered fictional too high temperature record.

    FYI, that area of California is perpetually the same soils. It’s not inhabited outside a few spots of minor towns (food and fuel stops) and the dirt there is nearly identical to what it was 10,000 years ago (as are the plants). No soils issues from farming and compaction… no water means no farming.

    “Problems with water resources are Global”

    Um, no, they are not. All fresh water is a local issue, subject to local fixes, soils, dams, desalinzing, etc. etc. Putting a damn in Egypt does nothing for California water supply.

    The thing is just daft like that for several pages.

    So: Thanks for the good laugh at the absolute lunacy that is being spouted in that propaganda page.

    But: Don’t for a minute think that their POV has any validity at all. It also makes me doubt that the science and engineering ideas in it don’t have gross errors as well.

    In short, any suggestion from folks with that much brain fog MUST be 100% independently verified from at least 2 unbiased sources before it has a chance in hell of being allowed into my brain. Just not willing to trust folks who can spout that kind of utter garbage in their intro…

  8. omanuel says:

    E. M. Smith,

    Current global climate doom is the result of forty-three years (1972-2015) of hiding evidence our elements were made in the Sun just before birth of the solar system:

    1972: Here are experimental data that showed the presence of “strange xenon” (Xe-2) from synthesis of the chemical elements just before the primitive meteorites formed [Hennecke, Sabu & Manuel, Nature 240 (1972) 99-101 http://www.omatumr.com/archive/XenonInCarbonaceousChondrites.pdf


    1975: Here are experimental data from the Allende meteorite showing that all primordial helium accompanied “strange xenon” (Xe-2) in the Allende meteorite and no primordial helium was associated with “normal xenon” (Xe-1) in the Allende meteorite.


    1977: Here is a debate published in Science to decide if “strange xenon” (Xe-2) was produced by:

    _ a.) A supernova explosion of the Sun
    _ b.) Fission of a superheavy element

    “Strange xenon, extinct superheavy elements, and the solar neutrino puzzle,” Science (14 January 1977)

    Click to access StrangeXenon.pdf

    The University of Chicago scientists finally admitted superheavy element fission was not the correct answer in 1980s, and in . . .

    1983: We predicted the Galileo probe of Jupiter would observe “strange xenon” (Xe-2) there, confirming local element synthesis and the iron-rich Sun [“Solar abundances of the elements,” Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983) http://tinyurl.com/224kz4

    1995: Here are experimental data from the Galileo probe of Jupiter’s helium-rich atmosphere showing “strange xenon” (Xe-2) in Jupiter.


    1998: NASA retained the Galileo data until 1998, when the NASA Administrator was confronted while he being video recorded by CSPAN news. See Dr. Goldin’s live explanation for holding the Jupiter xenon data near the end of this 1998 video.

  9. Sera says:

    Not trying to nitpik, but I’ve read the paper by WC Palmer. It’s mostly about soil moisture/content for North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa (Great Plains/Wheat Belt). There is no mention of Kali that I remember. It’s just a basic estimate for crop yields in certain areas, but it does have some value in others. Anyway, I do not see any utility for metropolitan areas. That’s my take.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    I suspect that the Palmer method is quite useful (especially for crops) since vegetation does dump more water in higher temps, so for predicting crop “issues” with not enough water for “demand” it is likely very valuable.

    The only place where I find “issue” with it is, as you pointed out, in metropolitan areas; and then that the basic temperature data on which it is based are now so suspect that the thing shouts DROUGHT! even when rain is near normal.

    For “general purpose use” like urban water planning, using “Is present precipitation within one standard deviation of the norm?” seems to me to be much better.

    Oh, and how it applies to the California great sandy desert areas is also a bit of a head scratcher…

  11. Wyguy says:

    OK, E.M. I’m going to date myself. The summer I worked at Eagle Mtn, was 1949 and there was a sign on the road into Eagle Mtn. that indicated that Hell was to the East close to what is now Kaiser Highway.

  12. Chuck L says:

    With the current El Nino approaching the threshold of being “strong” and peaking in late fall/early winter, there should more of the same and worse. Let’s hope the newly built reservoirs will catch a lot of this valuable rain. Oh wait, CA won’t build any new reservoirs so there aren’t any. Well at least the snail darters will be happy.

  13. w.w.wygart says:

    The Australians, who have similar problems with flash flooding, have an idea that they have been implementing down-under with some success since the 1970’s, the minimum energy loss weir.

    The concept of Minimum Energy Loss (MEL) weir was developed by late Professor G.R. McKAY. MEL weirs were designed specifically for situations where the river catchments are characterized by torrential rainfalls (during the wet summer) and by very small bed slope (So ~ 0.001). The design was developed to pass large floods with minimum energy loss, hence with minimum upstream flooding…

    The purpose of a MEL weir is to minimize afflux and energy dissipation at design flow conditions (i.e. bank full), and to avoid bank erosion at the weir foot. The weir is curved in plan to converge the chute flow and the overflow spillway chute is relatively flat Hence the downstream hydraulic jump is concentrated near the river centerline away from the banks and usually on (rather than downstream of) the chute toe. The inflow Froude number remains low and the rate of energy dissipation is small compared to a traditional weir. Ideally, a MEL weir could be designed to achieve critical flow conditions at any position along the chute and, hence, to prevent the occurrence of a hydraulic jump (CHANSON 1999, pp. 418-419). Practically this is not achievable because the variations of the tailwater flow conditions with discharge are always important. In practice, a weak jump takes place at the chute toe

    MEL weirs are typically earthfill structures protected by concrete slabs. Construction costs are minimum. A major inconvenient of a MEL weir design is the risk of overtopping during construction (e.g. Chinchilla weir). In addition, an efficient drainage system must be installed underneath the chute slabs.

    Maybe not practical for this particular installation, but the idea of speeding an unpredictably large volume of flood water, and minimizing its turbulence in these choke points seems to have some engineering merit. Water is going to take the path of least resistance. Sometimes that means carving an entirely new river channel to one side or other of the bridge. The bridge or some part of it is still there, but the highway is gone as with the Licungo Rivre bridge in Mozambique this year.



  14. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting idea. Probably not suited to this area of California (as it can be many decades between reasonable ‘needs’ and by then the protected structure / bridge has likely come and gone…) but could be very useful in many others where the flash flood events are more frequent.

  15. omanuel says:

    Thanks to Climategate emails and the damning official responses, the Sun’s pulsar core is gaining traction:


  16. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, this is going to take a bit of thinking and maybe some time to write up a discussion page:

    The running difference imaging technique used by both NASA and Lockheed Martin have revealed to us for the first time that the sun is not simply a ball of hydrogen gas; it has a hard and rigid ferrite surface below the visible photosphere that can be seen in all of the images on this page! Each of the images was produced by NASA or Lockheed Martin so you can verify these images for yourself.

    Just as Birkeland surmised, it turns out that the sun has a highly defined surface that rotates (uniformly) every 27.3 days. Dr. Birkeland was at least 100 years ahead of his time.

    An important corroboration of Dr. Birkeland’s solar theories and laboratory experiments came forty years later in the work of Dr. Charles Bruce. Dr. Bruce documented a number of solar atmospheric phenomenon that were directly related to electrical discharges from the solar surface. Bruce confirmed what Birkeland had predicted nearly fifty years earlier, showing that the electrical activity was directly responsible for the high energy discharges from the solar surface. The electrical discharge nature of the coronal loops has since been confirmed by the University of Maryland.

    A significant corroborating set of data came a decade or so later from the work of Dr. Oliver Manuel. Dr. Manuel confirmed via isotope analysis of lunar soil samples, and the study of meteorites, that the sun is predominantly made of iron and mass separates the plasma in it’s atmosphere. Unfortunately their hard efforts would not be visually confirmed for another three decades.

    It turns out however, that modern satellite images now lend very strong observational support to the electrical model of the sun originally described by Dr. Kristian Birkeland in the early 1900’s and later verified by Dr. Charles Bruce and Dr. Oliver Manuel. Dr. Charles Bruce and a number of other scientists have already demonstrated the electrical nature of the sun’s activities and have put forth solid surface theories of the sun based on predictions that are supported by direct observation. These models simply never gained momentum and ultimately fell out of “style” in the field of astronomy in mid to late part of the 20th century in favor of a gas model theory of the sun. Fortunately science still enjoys a small minority of dedicated scientists and maverick thinkers that have long promoted a very different, very iron rich model of the sun based on many decades of sound sweat equity, solid scientific research, and careful observation. In recent months, many of Dr. Manuel’s conclusions about our sun being composed of material from a supernova remnant have been confirmed by direct evidence. It turns out that these visual observations of an iron rich surface were predicted via the field of nuclear chemistry more than three decades earlier, while the experiments to support these ideas and many mathematical predictions had been verified over 50 years ago and were originally predicted by Birkeland almost 100 years ago! Studies of quasars in the early universe demonstrate the presence of large quantities of iron, casting serious doubt on the gas model in recent years.

    In addition, there is now growing evidence from the field of heliosiesmology that the sun possesses a significant stratification layer at a very shallow depth from the top of the photosphere. This new data suggest that the stratified iron surface is covered by a relatively thin veneer of plasma layers.

    Haven’t vetted the sources, but it sure looks like you will live long enough to see the Iron Sun thesis proven by the data…

  17. Pingback: The Iron Sun, Pro Link and Anti Density | Musings from the Chiefio

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