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Flood warnings

About eleven months ago, West Virginia experienced one of the worst floods in its known history. I drove around on the morning the rivers crested and took lots of pictures. I debated putting them up here but changed my mind — mainly because there was already lots of coverage of the event, and I didn't feel like adding to what seemed like "Oh, the humanity" horror reporting. People didn't need to see even more of it.

Ok, so quite awhile later, after the worst has ended, here's a picture from the WV Flood of 2016.

WV Flood of 2016

I've been watching the rain come down for the last few days and have once again heard the occasional "braap!... braap!... braap!" emergency alert sound coming from my phone. I remember in the days and hours before the flood, my phone was going off constantly, almost to the point where it was easier to ignore. A flood of information, we could say. But I guess it's safe to say there was plenty of warning.

Meanwhile, there are lots of reports about Antarctica in the news this year. Like this article from the renowned Yale University about ice caps melting rapidly on Greenland and Antarctica and a potential six-foot rise in the world's sea levels as a result. Or this one from ABC News, about how Antarctica is melting faster than expected. Or how about the New York Times article about the giant crack on the Larsen C ice shelf, which — if it becomes a complete break — would release an iceberg larger than Delaware into the sea. If that's not scary enough, moss is growing on Antarctica three times faster than normal.

I know, this is all "fake news" and hysterics. But is it? If one looks back in history, across numerous human cultures, one finds there is a pretty common tale of a great deluge. I guess the Noah story is most well-known, but there are others, and they each hint very strongly that the floodwaters came in a matter of days. Not centuries... not years... days. There are even Native American flood stories — pretty far-removed from the ones in the Old Testament.

Could there be another flood? And not just the one we had in West Virginia last summer — a huge one? Could it happen in a matter of days instead of years? Could we be seeing the warning signs of it now, in the collapsing ice shelves, or in the records and stories of our ancestors?

The forecast for tomorrow: rain.

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