Sunday, August 05, 2007

The wrath of the thunderer

Friday evening we were heading home from the mall and noticed the atmospheric light show going on to the north. In the less than fifteen minutes it took to reach our place, the flashes of light gave way to torrential rain and hail that flooded some of the low-lying streets around our vehicle. At one point we saw a twin lightning bolt show up starkly against the dark sky, perhaps the one which knocked out the water treatment plant one town over from us in Dumont. The next morning, Pam noticed that the water in the upstairs toilet was silty-looking, and we found a notice up at the gym advising against drinking from the fountains there. Today we, along with over 700000 other people in the region, are under a second day now of a boiled water advisory here. This has us thus contending with cases of bottled water from the store, steaming pots of water on the stove, and stripped-down procedures in the kitchen and bathroom. At the same time, I find that I am having some hearing trouble on the right side which I am attributing to a possible touch of swimmer's ear.

Boiling Water
Boiling Water,
originally uploaded by thirtyframes.

I remember visiting home from college one summer and having to follow special conservation measures because of California's laws during a drought emergency that was in effect. The boiled water advisories feel a little bit like that - nothing very difficult or specially time-consuming, but things that bring one's infrastructure dependence to mind fairly often. Inevitably, thoughts about the vulnerability of infrastructure are also linked in with the recent bridge failure in Minneapolis. I do not believe it is possible to avoid having to trust that other people have taken care of the hazards out there, short of becoming an off-the-grid wilderness survivalist, which I would rather not do at this time.

We have some purification tablets in our emergency kit, but I don't think it will come to raiding them for this rainy day. Actually, when I look out the window right now everything is sunny, though I just noticed a large limb from the neighbor's tree which has come down on the roof of the garage, serving as another memento.


thirtyframes said...

I wondered why this shot was getting so many hits. :)

RichM said...

That, and because it looks like the side of a rhinoceros.