November 11, 2007

California Dust Storms

One story that didn't get much play in the news from October were the dust storms that swept Southern California. The dust storms were caused by that same scoorge of the southlands that whipped up the the deadly fires in San Diego, Orange County and Malibu, namely the Santa Ana winds. In Beaumont California, located along Interstate Highway 10 heading east from Riverside on its way to Palm Springs, the dust storms closed the schools and roads for three days while people were advised to stay indoors as the fine dust carried by the winds gusting up to 70 miles an hour obscured visibility, torn down trees, brought down power lines, filled attics and drainage ditches, and stacked up dust and debris up to 4 feet against walls and fences.

The gusts, which reached up to 70 mph, downed more than 1,000 trees in the valley, tossed mobile homes off their foundations, stripped away rooftops and blew sand in 3- and 4-foot drifts. More than 400 tons of debris have been hauled away.

One reason Beaumont was the center of such a huge dust storm is for the past two years, it has been the target of a massive buildup of houses over acres of land as part of the Inland Empire housing boom. What were once sleepy fields of grassland used to feed cows have been steadily sold, plowed and blanketed with oversized houses. Where the builders had not yet laid down new homes, miles of fields had been plowed to prepare them for more new houses. The loosened topsoil was ready to be carried away by the rushing wind funneled through the passes in the southland.


One wonders who decided that plowing acres of fields months before they would be ready for building was a good idea. Was the lesson of the Dust Bowl simply forgotten? And now, with the housing boom falling into a bust, the neighbors of those empty dusty houses and vacant fields find themselves held hostage by speculators overselling the California dream again.

Posted by Mary at November 11, 2007 09:57 AM | Environment | Technorati links |

GOP gone GAY-first conviction

Posted by: ccoaler at November 11, 2007 01:13 PM