Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cloudburst!

NEARLY WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

This past weekend, the weather was decidely un-New Mexico. We had morning fog Friday and Saturday morning, and on both days we had clouds and rain all day.

Here, the cloud has settled on our mountain, obscuring the distance, bringing the close objects nearer, and as we walked the familiar aspects of the landscape seemed different, closer, more intimate.


On Saturday afternoon the thunder rolled and the heavens opened up! In the first wave, 0.30 inches fell in about ten minutes.
Here, water cascades, a river, down the driveway.

Then the rain fell harder, and the drops were larger;
they made crown-like splashes in the rapidly forming puddles.

The stream in the drive became a river, and I could not help but wonder what it looked like in the culvert on the new road.


Following the storm, clear water ponded against the low wall of the door garden, and we could hear it dripping off the trees and shrubs, and splashing down the narrow beginning of Sedillo wash.
That afternoon's total rainfall was over an inch in an hour. Later that evening, while we were in town get recieved another half-inch for a grand total of 1.5 inches for the day!
It was spectacular!



The general geological principle of gradualism--that changes on the earth's surface happen by the slow and steady weathering of rock does not totally explain the changes wrought by our western cloudbursts. Here, at the southern end of the new road at Los Pecos Loop, this one cloudburst wore down the borrow ditch by about a foot, and spread rocks and silt on the roadway.

Water is very powerful, being a reasonably heavy compound in which the molecules a pulled together by polarity. It moves very fast downhill, so that about two feet of water on a slight incline can sweep away a grown man.

A desert mountain cloudburst can downcut an arroyo by three feet in half-an-hour!

3 comments:

Luke said...

I love water, and "gradualism" seems rather washed-up after seeing a heavy rain.

~Luke

Melora said...

That top picture is especially beautiful! I miss rain.
There doesn't appear to be anything gradual about the way your soil is moving!

denise said...

I am so behind on my blog reading!! Playing catch up. What lovely photos.