Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Flooded Northwest

There have been more than a few incidents of flooding on Route 101, running through my home county of Marin. These have always been the result of torrential rains - which raised the level of Larkspur Creek - and high tides combined with some storm surge. It's been deep enough in the northbound lanes to shut them down on a few occasions. Whenever I consider the prospect of sea level rise, I know that this entire stretch of highway will have to be rebuilt.

Interstate Route 5, between Seattle and Portland has been shut down since Monday. Railways have been buried in mud. The closures could last into the weekend and the business impact is considerable.

About 54,000 vehicles traverse that portion of the highway daily, and 10,000 of those are trucks. The I-5 delays alone are expected to cost businesses $4 million a day, the Transportation Department estimates.

The effect on commuters could be the least of the problems; road closures are making it difficult to deliver emergency supplies and groceries to the flooded areas, said department spokesman Stan Suchan.

The department also is concerned about the effect on business.

"We know that a lot of companies are using just-in-time delivery so that they don't have a huge stock sitting in the back of their store," he said. "They rely on the trucks on the freeway to keep them in business."

Just another data point in understanding the potential impacts of climate change. The effects tend to cascade.

1 comment:

audie o'fyle said...

time for me to open up road side water skiing kiosks?