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Weather, infrastructure, and collapse

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posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 04:35 PM
Although I am mainly talking about the US, I'm pretty sure the situation isn't that much different elsewhere in the world.

For years now I've watched the weather effects on the infrastructure and read reports about the deterioration of the infrastructure across the nation, and wondered when the breaking point will come, and whether it will be gradual or sudden. By "gradual" I mean obviously happening over a course of a couple of years, by "sudden", a couple of months. By breaking point I mean effecting the ability of the nation to maintain an economy, i.e., contributing to or causing the nation's economic collapse.

Over the past few years there has been a large number of extraordinary floods, tornadoes, snowstorms and a lot of extremes in temperatures. Today, for instance, there are reports of numerous water line breaks in many Plains and Midwest cities due to the cold. When seen in isolation, each is not much of a much. A bridge goes down here, roads are damaged there, a few neighborhoods are without power or water for a few days, a road goes unrepaired for a few months, and it simply seems locally bad but nationally insignificant. Cities like New Orleans and Cedar Rapids get devastated and much of the damage is never repaired, but the stories just fade from the news.

But at what point does a lot of little local collapses turn into unrecoverable national disaster? How much more fraying can the infrastructure take before there is a cascade failure? How many individual little things can go unrepaired because the money is needed more urgently for more obvious, more dangerously ignored things that need repaired first?

Maintenance costs are abhorred by businessmen-politicians because they aren't sexy, they aren't grandly profitable, and if done right require either tax increases or cutting more profitable programs, so for decades maintenance has been "deferred" by government entities of every size and locality. As the economy worsens, maintenance money gets harder to come by and more likely to be diverted.

So the stage is now set, I think, for a spectacular collapse due an extreme wide-spread weather event, or more likely, a series of them. A road so bad that it adds five minutes to travel time and a hundred or two a year in repair costs seems insignificant, but if there are ten or twenty such roads along a trucking route, it adds a bigger drag every year. Adding a few degrees variation (colder winter temps, higher summer temps) speeds the decay of bridges and roads, buildings in general. As this section or area is avoided, it puts more stress on the ones favored. I think it's highly possible that a failure cascade could occur this spring if the weather is particularly bad: if major bridges, the roads leading to them, or railroad beds are compromised the economic consequences could derail what little recovery there's been and cause severe to devastating problems.

So I ask my fellow ATS'ers to look around and report the state of their locality: which roads and bridges near you are really bad, which are currently under repair. How are your sewage systems? How much weather damage has your area sustained over the past few years and is your local government keeping up with repairs? Is there any stimulus money actually noticeably being spent on infrastructure repair? What kind of weather event will be the local straw that breaks the camel's back? Any place where the morale of the locals is losing ground to continued floods, tornadoes or other damaging events?

I'm trying to discern larger patterns from local reports to see where the rot is worst. It might help to know where the SHTF is likely to happen first and what places to avoid due to infrastructure overload.

[edit on 6-1-2010 by apacheman]

posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 05:44 PM
It seems that Britain is getting hit hard right now.

Is the heavy (yeah I know, Coloradans, but remember: heavy is relative, where I am an inch would have everyone in a panic) snow having any effect upon the infrastructure there, considering the damage done by the recent floods?

posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 06:03 PM
US infrastructure has been getting a grade D for years if not decades now. Our infrastructure is going to the crapper. Drive around on major highways in major cities........bridges in rural areas........bridges in major's a mess. Combine that with dwindling state resources and income and you have a crisis on your hands. Just one more reason why our country should quit fighting the stupid wars and war on terror and use that money to rebuild, re-educate, and RE EMPLOY AMERICANS!

It's obvious that Obama, Bush, and many administrations before them want to systematically destroy America from the inside out. Obama is such an apparent NWO hyperglobalist........even more so than his stupid predecessor.

The fact that hazardouswate and water treatment have a D says plenty.

[edit on 6-1-2010 by Zosynspiracy]

[edit on 6-1-2010 by Zosynspiracy]

posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 06:12 PM
reply to post by apacheman

Nope, none at all in the grand scheme of things. although a couple of bridges were lost with the flooding, but a temporary one was erected by the Army and the others will be repaired as soon as possible. Some are very old though and the skills used to make them are long forgotten, so some may be pulled down and rebuilt.

The National Grid is up and running although some local distributors might have lost a few lines from falling trees, but these are being repaired as we speak. the transport network is running, for the most part, with only minor routes currently impassable, but once the snow thaws then the roads will be fine.

We don't actually have much "under investment" in our infrastructure and billions are spent every year not only maintaining it, but improving it. All the snow has done is make things somewhat slippery, but once it thaws it will be BAU.

posted on Jan, 6 2010 @ 10:50 PM
reply to post by stumason

We here can only envy a government that actually sees value in maintaining the transportation networks. It's most likely an effect of your smallness, not easy for your politicos to claim unawareness. There's too much of our infrastructure here that is "out of sight, out of mind", never personally used or seen by them, thus easily ignored.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 12:21 PM
As temperatures drop across the midwest, I look back on the recent flooding in the same areas, and wonder what effect the combination will have. You have multiple areas which just experienced major flooding, which soaked the footings of bridges and got into and under roadways. This flooding was on top of moist snow. Now, before they can dry out, comes extreme cold that will freeze the water soaked into the wood, concrete and asphalt, expanding as it does so. As the water turns to ice it expands cracks and fissures, weakening and deteriorating innumerable bridges and roads. Since many roads will be closed, the remaining open ones will be subjected to higher than normal stresses, accelerating the decline.

All I'm sure of is that there's probably no way repairs will be sufficient to bring the effected areas back even to the poor shape they where in before the bad weather began. And we are just at the beginning of winter.

At least thirteen people are dead and three more missing after heavy rains dumped about a foot (0.3 meter) of rain in the Midwest, swelling rivers and drenching many areas already waterlogged by recent snowfall, according to the Associated Press.

Flooding was reported in parts of Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky, prompting road closings, school cancellations, and evacuations in many places

DES MOINES, Iowa – Snow was piled so high in Iowa that drivers couldn't see across intersections and a North Dakota snowblower repair shop was overwhelmed with business as heavy snow and wind chills as low as 52 below zero blasted much of the Midwest on Thursday.

Frigid weather also gripped the South, where a rare cold snap was expected to bring snow and ice Thursday to states from South Carolina to Louisiana. Forecasters said wind chills could drop to near zero at night in some areas.

In Bowbells, in northwestern North Dakota, the wind chill hit 52-below zero Thursday morning.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 12:35 PM
By the early 80s, the US largely stopped making major investments in infrastructure--about the same time that we began to ship our manufacturing jobs overseas...mainly to China.

China in the meantime has been investing heavily in infrastructure to support its growing manufacturing base, and today China has the most advanced and up-to-date infrastructure in the world--its highways, superhighways, and rail systems put those in the US to shame, and you see lots of very expensive new cars on the roads.

Under the leadership of Bill and Hillary, the US sold out to China. Unless things change dramatically (unlikely) the United States will soon come to resemble Detroit--a ruined shell of a city, inhabited by jobless poor.

posted on Jan, 9 2010 @ 01:01 PM
One of the aspects of this is playing out right now as the artic freeze reaches into Florida. As the weather becomes more erratic, its effects are amplified by exposing buildings and roads to conditions they weren't built for.

Another aspect is the increased food costs as crops succumb to the cold. It's one thing to lose a crop of wheat or corn, but as orchards are damaged the effects are far more lingering. The orange groves still haven't recovered from the hurricane damage they sustained a few years ago. Add increased maintenance costs to deckinging incomes and you have a recipe for implosive disasters, long in building, sudden in their final collapse as a lot of seemingly seperate insignificant things fall apart together.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 12:54 PM
Death of a thousand cuts?

Cold inflicted major toll on fish in Florida:

(Millions of dead fish will severely impact Florida's fishing economy for years to come.)

Sink Holes showing up at alarming rate in Central Florida:

(An unintended consequence of saving the immediate crop, will likely result in dimonished future productivity, and add an additional economic burden to an already precarious economy)

Getting hit by Awesome Snow Storm!:

(It is still early winter, more storms can be expected, indedd are on their way as I type...each major storm adds to the infrastructure deterioration)

Storm battering California sets record low pressure mark:

(California's already on the verge of bancruptcy...this series of storms is cosying hige amounts of money at both ends: direct damage to roads and property, and reduced economic activity to tax to pay for the repairs)

National Situation Update: Wednesday, January 20, 2010:

(There's this huge storm system with record low barometric pressures moving east, a powerful snowstorm/freezing rainstorm moving across the northern plains, massive rainstorms across the southeast)

Rain followed by freeze is extremely hard on infrastructure, especially infrastructure not built to withstand it, and at or past its designed lifespan. We're barely into winter yet, and this one looks to be bad. Where's the money to fix the roads, bridges. and pipes that the weather's destroying to come from?

posted on Feb, 8 2010 @ 11:52 AM
Well it looks like what I was talking about is currently happening:

Heavier precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures this winter already started eroding the roadways, Hansen said. The recent snow only exacerbated the problems. After this weekend's icy conditions, potholes are a problem on Interstate 264 between the downtown Norfolk area and the Interstate 64 interchange, especially near the Brambleton Avenue exit ramp, Hansen said. Crews were out Sunday trying to patch as many potholes as they could before nightfall, Hansen said, so this morning's commute will be smooth. Potholes form when moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws. That cycle weakens the pavement so the weight of traffic causes it to crumble and fail. The very weather that forms potholes also makes fixes short-lived and inadequate. Only cold-mix asphalt, which is considered temporary, can be applied in winter temperatures. Inevitably, these patches pop out of the pavement, taking the edges with them and leaving even bigger holes. "We end up refilling over and over again," Hansen said.

The snow removal costs are staggering already-broke states and communities:

The snow removal efforts strained state and local government coffers. Before the weekend, Maryland spent $50 million on snow removal this season. A storm in December cost $27 million of that and this weekend’s storm will likely cost more than that, Swaim-Staley said. The state has exhausted its reserve fund and will probably seek state assistance, she said. Virginia had already spent the $79 million it budgeted for this year for snow removal, and paid for the latest storm from a $25 million reserve fund. Karen Le Blanc, a spokeswoman for the District of Columbia said the city government was “probably over” its $6.2 million budget for snow removal.

The monster storm very likely busted Maryland's budget for snow removal from roads, rails and runways, but buried in the drifts was any mention of the long-term transportation problems facing the state.

Compounding the lack of state funds are the empty coffers at the federal Highway Trust Fund, which Congress has refused to replenish with an increase in any federal transportation tax. And O’Malley is proposing to again take 95 percent of the highway user funds the counties use for their own roads, and put it in the general fund.

States of Emergency were declared for West Virginia, Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania The heavy wet snow led to numerous roof collapses in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania. Over 300,000 people from Pennsylvania to Virginia were without electricity Sunday morning Washington Hospital in DC declared a snow emergency because workers could not get to work through the heavy snow. Postal service suspended all services including retail operations, mail delivery and collections across Washington DC and Maryland due to the storm. DC-area National Park Service sites including the Washington Memorial Abandoned and disabled vehicles were reported along the stretch of I-95 between the Baltimore and Capital beltways Many roads were closed and or impassable due to the heavy snow across Southern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

And more storms are linging up still:

A system similar to a mid 1990s system will come into the area later on Tuesday, hanging around all night and into some of Wednesday. The system has the power to produce one of the most spectacular lightning shows in Southern California, one not seen in 15 years. The system has a lot of cold air aloft. The Southern California Weather Authority has named it Phil, a Category Five storm. Pacific Storm Phil will bring constant lightning with it, larger hail, funnel clouds, small tornadoes, and torrential downpours.

Seems like a lot of damage and costs are piling up, and record snows means record floods in a few more weeks. Where will the money come from to remove, repair, and replace the damaged infrastructure?

Things are getting terribly frayed.

posted on Feb, 8 2010 @ 12:10 PM
reply to post by apacheman

I really like the idea of implementation of high speed rail in this country.

1. Create many jobs (for long periods of time)

2. Exponential Gains in inter/intrastate commerce

3. Don't have to sit in Atlanta for 3 hours waiting to get to Minneapolis and pay $7.50 for a beer biding my time

posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 01:21 PM
As I sit here thankfully in SoCal, watching the East Coast slowly smother under athe weight of severely prolonged blizzard conditions, I wonder how this will play out over the next few weeks.

Am I the only one who can foresee the future? Come on, guys, it's not that hard, really.

The conditions extant over the Middle Atlantic will have some fairly easily predictable consequences:

1. A lot of homeless and/or powerless people are going to show up dead when the weather breaks.

2. Lot, I mean LOTS, of cities, counties, and states will face bankruptcy due to excessive snow removal costs.

3. Road damage due to freezing and the subsequent melts will be massive, again ratcheting costs skyward.

4. Tax revenues will be depressed due to a broad lack of economic activity.

5. Apparently no one can think ahead: I saw a report this morning that they have piled snow form Washington, DC's streets in the parking lot of an abandoned (!) hospital 20 feet deep and have run out of room there. The weather people were acting like it's funny, wondering where they will put the rest. I wonder how funny it will seem in a few days when it melts and runs into the streets? How much water is in 20 feet of packed snow? If the snow is followed by rain, it will melt fast. Where will all that water go? Now think that that scenario is being repeated throughout the region. Can you foresee the same flooding I can?

6. Already fragile infrastructure is being further damaged at an accelerated rate, when the spring floods come, expect more than one bridge collapse. I don't want to think about dams. Nope, I really don't.

7. Lots and lots and lots of power poles and associated electrical distribution equpment are down from the Northern Plains to the Atlantic. The "just in time" inventory management practices will now come back and bite us hard: "just in time" means you stock only what the demand average tells you is necessary to meet needs a day or two out. That's fine and efficient if you never suddenly need ten or twenty times the average, then you run out of critical supplies. Those shortages are already appearing: no rock salt is available in many areas now. Repair supplies will be in shortage soon, too.

8. There is a currently a 10% chance of an X-class solar flare that could take down global power grids to add the difficulties: if that happens, the problems balloon tremendously.

And yet more storms are ling up.

posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 05:55 PM

I really like the idea of implementation of high speed rail in this country.

Another boondoggle that will not solve anything.

In the countries that have this transport system it is HEAVILY subsidized by the government.

Do we really need more of that.

In the U.S. it would just lead to cheap(not really) entertainment.

Nothing else to do?

Go down and watch the EMPTY bullet train go by.

We need a New Deal situation and stop building worthless projects where they are not needed and not wanted.

posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 06:00 PM
The local rock radio station morning DJ is a self described "conspiracy buff" and was discussing this morning about the possibility that the freak weather the D.C. and mid-Atlantic has been receiving is due to some outside force. He brought up the concept of "weather wars", or controlling and manipulating the weather to wreak havoc on an area. It got me thinking just how plausible something like that is. Could it be that another country is pummeling our capital and surrounding areas with weather it isn't equipped to handle. The Federal government has been out of commission since last Friday due to this weather, it has drained almost all resources in certain areas, and has caused panic. It seems fairly plausible to me. Also would make sense. A weather offensive is much less obvious than a military one and can do some heavy damage to an area.

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 01:52 PM
Huge sinkholes have closed roada around Malibu and Mulholland drives:

Now snow is pummeling the southern states, too and yet another big storm is moving towards the Mid-atlantic states.

How much more infrastructure damage can the nation sustain?

Where's the money coming from to fix this stuff? California's way past broke.

posted on May, 3 2010 @ 05:31 PM
It just piles up:

BOSTON — Crews worked Sunday on a quicker-than-expected fix to a major water break that left some 2 million people in the Boston area without clean water. Residents were told to boil water for drinking or cooking since some untreated water has entered the system. It remained safe for showering and toilet flushing.

"It's like lake water," said Frederick Laskey, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. "You'll swim in it, but not drink it." Adding to the pressure was an unseasonably warm spring forecast for the area, with the temperature predicted to reach a summer-like 88 degrees.

There also were economic and social impacts: Restaurants in suburban Lexington shut down Saturday night, unable to wash dishes or serve customers clean water, while police in Revere had to be called into a BJ's Wholesale Club after a run on bottled water turned unruly.

"It was a little unclear whether we could bathe or not," said Leenoel Chase, who was searching for coffee amid the closed shops in Lexington. "I forgot and almost brushed my teeth."

She replaced a planned pasta dinner Saturday night with a more adventurous — but less water-demanding — souffle.

The breach was reported Saturday morning in Weston, about 10 miles west of Boston. It was in a coupling holding together two sections of a 10-foot-wide metal pipe that carries 250 million gallons of treated water a day from the Quabbin Reservoir to some 750,000 households in 30 communities.

Officials initially said a repair might take weeks, but they located the necessary supplies overnight and welders fashioned custom metal parts in a matter of hours.

They began installing them by midmorning, and then planned to perform a pressure test and water quality tests. They hoped all the work could be completed Monday.

"The good news is we know the extent of the problem; we've got a solution to fix it," said Laskey.

Officials remained puzzled by the cause, since the break occurred in a stretch of pipe that was just seven years old.

According to Tenessean reports the streets and roads of Nashville have been flooded with water. The reports further tell us that Nashville received a record breaking rainfall of thirteen inches on weekend. The situation may worsen even more because the calculations show that the Cumberland River will rise beyond its capacity. The river’s water level will rise to 50 feet which is very close to the flood level of 55 feet after attaining which the river will overwhelm the Nashville city.

As result of the flood, 150 plus roads have been blocked and air activities at Nashville International Airport are also disturbed. The flood has affected every walk of life. Following the flood all the educational institutes had to cancel their classes on Monday. Thousands of people are without power and it was heard from the officials of the power company that it will take two or three days to restore electricity to the more 36,000 customers in Davidson Country alone. The damage extended from Memphis to Middle Tennessee. The administration of the area plans to seek federal disaster status, which will help in securing funding for aiding in recovery efforts.

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Four people have died from flood-related causes as high waters blocked hundreds of roads throughout the state on Monday, officials said.

Emergency declarations have been issued in 40 Kentucky counties and 15 cities, Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday afternoon.

The deaths occurred in Allen, Barren, Lincoln and Madison counties, and three of the four happened after motorists ran into high water.

"The damage is widespread," Beshear said. "Several water treatment and sewer plants are under water and we have significant road damage in multiple counties." He said 49 school systems were closed or delayed Monday.

Beshear requested a federal disaster declaration, which could make the state eligible for federal funding to help pay for repair homes, businesses and government infrastructure like roads and bridges damaged by the flooding. The governor also authorized the Kentucky National Guard to mobilize personnel and equipment to assist flood victims.

The National Weather Service said southern Kentucky got the heaviest rainfall over the weekend, with 11 inches in Allen County, 10 in Warren County and nine in Metcalfe County since Saturday. Northern Kentucky got smaller amounts, around four to five inches. The same destructive line of weekend storms and flash flooding killed 12 people in Tennessee and six in Mississippi.

And then there's the Gulf spill.

Where's the money going to come from to fix all the weather damage done so far this year?

Remember, all these disasters depress the local economies and cost the municipalities even as their tax revenues shrink while business is suspended.

What will be the final straw, I wonder?

A major hurricane?

An earthquake in the wrong (i.e., unprepared, as in not California) spot?

More floods? Like in a major dam failure?

Or perhaps a disintegration of the highway system as more traffic is thrown onto fewer roads that already need repair, accelerating their demise?

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 12:50 PM
What with the recording-breaking floods in Australia, Europe, Bazil, and record-beaking snowstorms throughout the US and Canada, it seemed apropos to resurrect this thread.

So far as I can see, the situation can hardly be said to have improved any. In point of fact, it seems much worse than when I first brought it up: more damage and less money to deal with it.

One of the concerns is the effect of extremely low temperatures on infrastructure that was designed for higher maximum lows, i.e., most of the southeastern US. This region has very old infrastructure nearing, at, or past it's designed life span, and that infrastructure was never supposed to dealing with winters like this one. Thermal expansion/contraction can wreak havoc on footingd, pipes, and foundations, preparing the way for spring catastrophes when the melt comes.

Everyone's already broke; cities are using up their maintenance budgets to fund snow removal, and the winter's barely begun.. Where will the money come from to deal with the problems looming in the spring?

I heard a report on the news that a water main breaks somewhere every 4 minutes in this country already, and that states are cutting workers all around the country. Sound like a formula for failure or collapse to me: worse weather, more damage, lower budgets, fewer workers...if anyone can find anything good there...well, I appreciate your optimism, what kind of meds produce it?

If it was just one region, we might be able to cope, but pretty much everything east of the Rockies is in the same boat. Personally, I blame decades of "running government like a (corporate) business": maintenance is an anethema to most business types. It is a pure expense that is difficult to turn into a profit center, so it is easily deferred again and again until something actually braeks, then repaired with the minimum required to get it functioning again. In business when everything is worn out, the company is either abandoned or sold to a sucker who's left holding the bag.

Glad I live where the infrastructure's only about 75 years old, half the age of a lot of east coast stuff.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 01:54 PM
Water main breaks are common every winter. More in the years where the temperature stays colder for a longer period and less when it’s warmer. No conspiracy.

As to ruining the country for a new world order:
They have to drive on the same roads as the little guy.
They use the same sewers as the little guy.
They use the same electric grid as the little guy.
If all the little guys lose their jobs it will be the rich houses looted.

So what is the point of being at the top of a NWO world order if 99% of the rest is after you? That whole NWO is just crap.

If you want all new roads come up with the money.
If you want all the bridges replaced come up with the money.
If the city water pipes need replacing come up with the money.

My biggest problem is getting Word to leave 'NWO' alone and not changing it to NOW.

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 03:16 AM
no doubt the weather has been really cold but i wonder if this has happened before

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 02:05 AM
reply to post by samkent

Nope, no conspiracy implied or asserted, other perhaps than a passive conspriacy of complacency.

The infrastructure is old, worn out, and is failing because it is old and worn out. The temperature extremes amd excess moisture simply accelerate the process.

Dealing with winter and spring weather is horrendously expensive in a winter like the current one, and most cities have blown through their snow removal budgets for the year already, forcing them ro raid other accounts to make up the difference and there is no end of snowstorms in sight. When the spring floods are done, a lot of infrastructure will be in even more serious need of repair with no funds with which to repair them.

At some point it becomes critical and soon moves to unsustainable.

Look around honestly and you'll see we are very near that critical point; failure to acknowledge the problem and deal with it this year, I think, will push us past the critical point, and be beyond the power of the country to fix without wrenching societal changes.

As far as infrastructure goes, the US has been living off past glories for more than a few decades now.

It can't and won't last much longer: there are potential catastrophes everywhere you look.

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