We was robbed

Good morning, sunshine.

The weather wizards were talking a double-digit possibility of a sprinkle yesterday. But talk don’t water the cacti, son! What we got was nada, and plenty of it.

Our Acu-Rite widget claims we last got precip’ on March 30, a whopping 0.14 inch, but I don’t remember that. My training log mentions rain on March 22, and after that, bupkis.

“We are having a very bad year,” observes John Fleck.

Riding my bike to a meeting with folks trying to figure out how to cope with climate change seemed appropriate signaling, but mainly bikes are fun, as my friend Charlie likes to say, and I pretty much ride mine everywhere I can.

After the meeting, I took the long way home, which involved a dirt trail through the riverside woods along Albuquerque’s reach of the Rio Grande. It was shady and cool on a hot afternoon, but the glimpses of the river were painful. Sometime around midday flow dropped below 300 cubic feet per second, which probably means nothing to most everyone, so I’ll put it this way – it’s just a hair above one tenth of the normal flow for this time of year.

Yow.

Southern California is restricting water use for 6 million people, and I would not be surprised to see our local water coppers taking measures before much longer. I’ve spotted a flotilla of Albuquerque-Bernalillo Water Utiility Authority vehicles cruising the Foothills lately, and they can’t all be meter readers.

Even Arizona is contemplating a “new normal,” though the last I looked the thinking was running very far afield indeed, from desalinization projects in Mexico to pumping water from the Mississippi Basin rather than restricting use of a diminishing supply.

Meanwhile, as the wind blows and the temperature rises, while the swamp coolers begin to bubble and air conditioners to whir, the power grid seems to be a few watts shy of the load.

Phrases like “rolling outages” and “worst-case scenarios” are getting tossed around as neighboring grids find they have no spare power to share and the aforementioned shortage of our old pal water threatens hydroelectric generation. And the buck stops … uh, where, exactly?

“The problem is there is nobody in charge,” said M. Granger Morgan, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The national power grid, he said, is a patchwork of regional systems designed to be guided by market demand in each area. Federal regulators have limited authority over it, and many states have constrained their own power to manage energy resources as part of a deregulation push that took hold in the 1990s.

“We don’t have the national regulatory arrangements and incentives in place to implement this energy transition in a coherent and rapid-enough manner,” Morgan said.

Oh, good. For a second there I thought we might be in trouble.

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17 Responses to “We was robbed”

  1. xspecialized Says:

     Mac,

    There’s global warming and there’s global raining.

    Whilst you roast in NM, the following scenario is playing out in the Seattle area in 2022.

    3rd coldest April in over 45 years. Old Guys Who Get Fat In The Winter used their natural layer of insulation instead of putting on an extra layer of fleece.

    May. 2nd wettest (3.82”) and 7th coldest (52.6 degree avg). Upside. A verdant landscape with conifers and ferns reminiscent of the Cretaceous period. Cold blooded creatures such as myself creep out at opportune times for a few bike rides…

    But that’s not all..

    The following shows the number of hours (Jan 1- May 31) for the past 8 years when the temperature is at least 70 degrees.

    2015: 77 2016: 144 2017: 85 2018: 107 2019: 103 2020: 85 2021: 80 2022: 5 😳 Currently, the snowpack on the SE side of the Washington Cascades is 1850% of normal. The Cascade snowpack east of Puget Sound is 319%. We can water our lawns with impunity, but given the naturally falling irrigation, that would be overkill.

    Knowing I have no power to control the weather, for the time being, I’m going down the Woo-woo path by adopting this critter, who lives nearby, as my spirit animal….

    All the best for Nimbo-Cumulus in NM, Tom

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Wowsah. You best watch out. The Californicators are liable to run a big ol’ straw up your way and drain you like Dracula hitting a hot blonde.

      My man Hal Walter up in Colorado reports PNW-style weather lately. Snow, to be sure, but also rain and fog, plus an insane bluebird trying to batter his way into the house. Probably trying to get warm and dry, which would be a breeze since Hal cooks on a wood-fired stove.

      Keep your hat on. I remember getting rust on my steel plate when I lived in the mid-Willamette Valley and it interfered with the transmissions from Pluto. Also, Goofy.

    • B Lester Says:

      Reminds me of when I heard two climatologists from the U of Wisc. on the radio a bunch of years ago. They were asked to characterize this “climate change”. They were reluctant to do so, correctly saying that it’s more complicated than a bumper sticker phase, but nonetheless they said “the wet parts will get wetter, and they dry parts will get dryer”. Prescient.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        And the Lord spake, saying, “Yo, I told you to go to the desert to wise up. Forty days and nights, then back to the grindstone. You weren’t supposed to stay there.”

  2. khal spencer Says:

    There is no one in charge, there isn’t a coherent energy plan (renewables? nuclear? fossil? conservation? all of the above? subtract 1?), there are too many people, and there’s not enough water.

    There are cumulonimbus clouds building over the Sangres, but nothing over on our side of the city. Just more of the same. One of our cucumber plants gave it up over the last couple days. I suspect more to follow.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Irony gave me a wink and a nod shortly after I posted that. As I was motoring home from the grocery store, with KUNM playing Talking Heads’ “[Nothing But] Flowers,” I took note of seven mule deer chilling in the shade on someone’s tastefully manicured lawn. I think they could get used to that lifestyle.

      • Shawn Says:

        and puma concolor might wander down in the evenings for a lap or two of a local backyard garden fountain. There’s nothing like a cold drink and a quick small doggie snack before settling down to a peaceful night under a patio deck.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    When in trouble, and in doubt
    run in circles, scream and shout
    wring your hands in agony
    and elect the guy that will fix it free
    O’Grady for President

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      OK, let me change that. Herb for President! Surely we can all agree on that.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        You can’t make jokes like that! When I was in high school and a skinny, zitty cretin, some “friends” ran me for school president and I fekking won since everyone must have needed a little comic relief. Found out I had to go to meetings and was asked to dress up for these with school boards and city councils and such. The joke was on poor Herb alright.Then I got in hot water for doing pitch perfect imitations of the high school principal during my Friday morning PA announcements ala Firesign Theater.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I fear I would make a poor candidate, having already done the other guys’ oppo research for them. All they need is the one ad:

        “Have you read his blog?”

    • B Lester Says:

      Nuthin’ like original poetry to brighten the day…

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        I will take credit for the last line only. The rest was what we said at work every time we ran into a complex problem. Don’t know where it came from. Guess I better look.

        Herman Wouk perhaps?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Robert A. Heinlein had it as:

        When in danger or in doubt,
        Run in circles, scream, and shout.

        I vote for Herb. Unlike the other fella, Herb has skills and a work ethic.

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          Well I did work since I was 10 years old up until recently but being Herb I can tell you there were little to no ethics involved. It was pure survival. And to put to rest this higher office tangent, I can assure you that there are legions of people and probably a few pets that would love to have a whack at me should I be ensconced in stocks and parked at the village square for a few days. All that would be left of me would be a little hair and a few teeth. No sir, save that space for Moscow Mitch or Lying Ted.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        They are predicting record heat down here later this week. Friday’s high predicted to be 101 here and 107 for Tucson. Saturday and Sunday will be 109 in the Old Pueblo. Night temps above normal too entire period. The grid will be tested Thursday through Sunday.

        Moscow mitch or lying ted huh. That would be the end.

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          Oh no! I meant save the stocks in the public square for those two turds. Love to see them both with their heads poking out. Although I would sneak behind them with a sledgehammer, 20 lb bag of gravel and a funnel and…..I’ll leave it there…
          109 degrees! You won’t need to use the stove or microwave Pat.

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