Monday, February 13, 2017

Great Weekend plus watching the Oroville Dam disaster unfold

Had a great weekend due to the wonderful weather.  Did a bit of shopping, walked out in the sunshine, and too a quick excursion to one of the local National Parks.  I'll document my visit to Muir Woods later in another blog, but one treasure I found was the Interagency Senior Pass.  If you like to visit National Parks, this lifetime pass gives seniors (62 years and older), free access to all the National Parks across the country.  The pass costs only $10 USD and one can bring two guests, irregardless of age.  Details here.

One neat thing about being a senior in the USA are the discounts offered at many businesses and government facilities.  Many restaurants offer special senior menus and specials -- even McDonalds offers a senior coffee for only 69 cents.  I don't hesitate to use these specials because after all, I earned this privilege by suffering all this time paying regular prices until I got old...555  Kidding aside, many seniors suffer economic hardship due to the way our society has been set up and while often, its self induced by lack of savings and planning, many are in need of any kind of help they can get.

Even in the Land of Smiles, seniors enjoy some discounts like reduced prices on the MTR underground and the BTS skytrain.  While many are reserved for Thai seniors, some benefits extend to retired expats.  One just has to ask.

OROVILLE DAM Disaster...

The big local news, which has gone national, is the developing situation at Oroville Dam. The dam, located about 150 miles NE of the bay area,  is one of Kalifornia's largest dams and also the tallest dam in the country.  Due to the huge rainfall this year and the design of the dam, there is a danger of a major failure of the spillway which could unleash a 30 foot wall of water down river.  An emergency evacuation warning was issued yesterday for 200,000 residents along the Feather river basin.  Last night, people were scrambling out of the area while officials were trying to fix the problem.  It was a good insight into what a mass evacuation would look like as tempers flared and roads were jammed for hours.

As of this morning, the lake was successfully drained below its top at 901 feet, but the race is on to reinforce the spillway and drain the lake down another 50 feet.  Helicopters are being brought in from all over to drop rock bags in the weakened spillway.  The urgency is needed because another series of storms is on the way that could drop another 10 inches of water in that watershed. Residents are in emergency centers and the Governor has activate the National Guard.

Lake Oroville is only a couple of hours drive from here and I've been to the Feather river to fly fish during my younger days.  Beautiful place facing a serious situation.  Barnaby owns some property in that area, knows a lot about the dam and the area, and he thinks its going to be really bad.

Here is a live stream of local TV station located in Sacramento.  

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