John Bates: Everybody Talks About the Weather, but Nobody Does Anything About It

Flooding-blog

At the monthly UUCA Board of Trustees meeting on February 2, Shel Altschul updated the Board on a recent meeting with the City of Asheville concerning flooding in and around 23 Edwin. We were happy to hear there was progress. The city considers this the highest priority flood mitigation project, has developed draft plans, will be hosting meetings in the coming months, and hopes to have approval to move forward by the end of the year. Our optimism was dashed when a flash flood event happened the next morning and 23 Edwin was again flooded.

By the time I was able to get away from work at noon and stop by to see 23 Edwin, the water had drained and the cleanup had begun. It was sad and frustrating to see the damage and yet heartening to see Bob Roepnack and the cleanup professionals already at work. I walked across the street to talk to our neighbor. His garage had again been flooded and his back yard was a lake. He shared a video on his smart phone of the flooding; I’m always awe-struck by the power of Mother Nature.

So what can we do about the weather? Well, as someone in the profession, I’m hopeful that the recent agreement to limit greenhouse gases will limit harm to future generations. However, there is a certain amount of climate change ‘baked into’ the system and so we are working increasingly on mitigation and adaptation. Rev. Mark Ward and the Campus Development Committee are considering what additional mitigation we can do at 23 Edwin to adapt to more frequent heavy rain events and minimize damage.

We are also working to ensure the safety of everyone. If you hear the weather service has issued a flash flood watch (watch indicates it may happen within the next few hours) or warning (flooding is under way), stay out of flooded areas and rapid flows. Contact the front office to report flooding or damage and follow their instructions. Check with staff prior to putting anything in the basement of 23 Edwin.

We can’t do anything about the weather, but we can do something about how we cope with it.