Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Flooding Mystery

When me and Dennis Ousley, in our younger days, used to hang-out on the phone, 30 miles apart, while each was watching tv in his own house, and the both of us, by watching tv, observing and then solving most of the world's mysteries of society, within a few years, there was one thing Dennis could never figure out. We would see floods on the tv news and Dennis used to say, "How the fuck does that happen?" Flooding was a total mystery to him. I didn't really ever think about it and never much cared but to Ousley this was earth's most perplexing dilemma. I actually understood the confusion itself: you gut this area where there's just houses and people and trees and then it's ten feet deep in standing water. Where the fuck did all the water come from. Where was it when it wasn't ten feet high in the street? After a while of hearing these questions I started thinking about it myself. After about 15 years I figured it out. Here's what happens. You have these places in the East where there's big rivers. They're wide but they don't appear to be moving very fast. They ain't like the Colorado in the Grand Canyon. They are just these real wide rivers that meander. You can't even see the water move because it goes so slow and is so wide. Water flows downhill, but the sloping in the midwest and south is so gradual - one inch every hundred miles - that even though it's running downhill, it's looks like it's just this long wide line of standing water. A thousand miles to the north, one day, all the snow melts in the Dakotas, or Chicago, or Minnestota, or some goddamn place, and it's also raining like a motherfucker in Ohio. This adds a ton more of water to these rivers flowing South. But they're already flat, and they ain't too deep cause the water don't run fast enough to carve-out deep channels, if anything they pile up silt and get shallower. When all this added water gets into the river, it ain't gonna flow FASTER because it can't: it barely tips southward as it is. So it just spreads out. The river just expands sideways. Then all of Alabama is a slow, southward-draining LAKE. Not a river. Eventually it all drains and the river is all that's left once again. Thank you. Fuck you. Ya know it ain't all nigger-bashing here. Sometimes it's hard core mother fucking science and industry, mother fucker. Thank you.


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