The Falcon Voice

Southern California in Distress with Natural Disasters

Ayla Ahmad, Journalist

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Western parts of the United States have suffered under severe natural disasters, causing a chain reaction of damage to the environment. In December of 2017, Southern California was afflicted with the state’s largest fire which ravaged through beach enclaves, orange groves, rural canyons, golf retreats, and suburban cul-de- sacs (LA Times). Dubbed the Thomas Fire, 44 people died and nearly 10,000 homes were disturbed last month. While a huge operation was undertaken to isolate the fire, the force of this weather could not be stopped. Sadly, the consequences of the Thomas Fire did not end there.

According to the BBC, burnt vegetation and charred soil create a water repellent layer which blocks water absorption. This loss in verdure leads to an increased risk of mudslides and floods. Mudslides and water overflow have cost the lives of 17 people with the death toll expected to rise; approximately 100 homes were destroyed and 300 damaged. At least 7,000 Californians have had to evacuate their homes for the second time within this two-month period.

James Queally, Melissa Etehad, and Brittny Mejia from the LA Times reported the community
of Montecito was hit the hardest with rain pouring down on its southern slopes. Currently this area has no water, gas, or electricity. The U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard on top of helicopters from various fire departments in Los Angeles have rescued a number of people trapped in the mudslides. BBC reported boulders the size of cars blocked roads and knocked homes off their foundations in Montecito. Also home to numerous celebrities –  actor Rob Lowe, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, and broadcaster Oprah Winfrey – famous personalities haveattempted to garner attention over social media (News Observer). DeGeneres tweeted with a photo of the flooded freeway, “This is not a river. This is the 101 freeway in my neighborhood right now. Montecito needs your love and support.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover image: Marcus Yam from the Los Angeles Times

Boulder image: Courtesy of EPA image

Overhead image: Courtesy of News Observer

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Southern California in Distress with Natural Disasters