Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Deeper and Wider and More

     This has been a real time of it.   The area of northeastern Mexico comprised of the States of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila which received the brunt of Hurricane Alex (reference previous blog entry) have since received another dose.   This came in the form of  "almost Hurricane Bonnie", a tropical depression that came ashore on the central Gulf coast of Tamaulipas.    This system actually crossed directly over our little Quinta on the banks of the Rio Corona.   We had 16.5 inches of rain in two days.   The mountains to the west had much, much more.    There were reasonable reports of up to 45 inches over a three day period.     This is to be added to what we had received before.
     Our little sedate mountain stream....the Rio Corona....rose up to within about 20 feet of our adobe house, our second threat inside of the month.   The neighbour's old mequite tree that shades our southeast corner was blown down....there was much damage to the Montezuma Cypress trees which line the Rio Corona...but not fatal.    This meant that the winds were much stronger that those which were supposed to have accompanied the 35 mph estimates.   Everyone scoffed at such official velocities.
      Much of the energy of this second system continued to the northwest and dumped prodigous amounts of rain over the same area previously affected by Hurricane Alex.   The Rio Grande's drainage basin collected copious amounts of runoff.   The Rio San Juan, the Alamo, the Salado, the Sabinal, along with upriver inflows being captured by Amistad Reservoir near Del Rio, Texas all joined in the game.   Falcon Reservoir, built in 1953, rose to its highest retention in history....the Mexican rivers overflowed their dams, their banks, and everything possible.    At this moment the floodway system in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is almost at capacity and the Rio Grande is just barely beginning a fall from cresting.    More rain is on the way, however.
      The highways between the Laredos (Texas and Tamauliipas) and the Monterrey metroplex were inundated....there was much damage.   Laredo is the busiest land port between two countries in the world.   The back up was all but incomprehensible.   Tractor-trailer rigs were backed up two-abreast for forty miles on the Mexican side and 35 miles on the American.   Train convoys were in a similar position.  Everyone was tied up from 4 to 6 days.
       I shall report a bit more on this.   We in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas are in precarity at this time, although the water is no longer rising.   The possible arrival of new systems can change this at any time.    In the previous blog I wrote that the governor of Nuevo Leon had estimated damages to be as high as a billion dollars....this is almost a macabre joke at this point.   All the damage, throughout the affected three State surely more in the neighbourhood of 50 billion dollars, if not more....and much of this damage is upon construction and installation of a generally good to excellent quality.   It is a pity.....but perhaps greater things will be built with and upon the ruins.    For sure this area is going to see a severe labour shortage for the coming three years.