Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Flood of 2019: Water going up and earth going down (landslide causes derailment)

3D Satellite
You can see on Google's 3D Satellite image (on the right) that there is a river bluff right next to the tracks.

Fifteen "train cars" were involved. but the environmental assesment did not find any issues. (I put "train cars" in quotes because they probably mean platforms. Most deep well cars are articulated and have three or five platforms in one freight car.) The boat landing at Glen Haven is the only thing blocked by the train being stuck on the tracks. "The apparent cause of the derailment was a rock and mudslide." [Channel3000]

The Midwest hasn't had the Bomb Cyclone and other "gully washers" that the Great Plains have had, but they have had a lot of "soaking rains" and some thunderstorms. In the Chicagoland area, I think we set a new record for the number of days in May that had rain. A lot of farmers could not get into their fields to plant corn in May because, about as soon as their fields got dry enough, another rain would come through.

Unlike California, a big rain is not going to cause landslides in the Midwest. But we are learning that if you have a lot of rain for a few months, that is enough soaking that even hills stabilized by trees will "slump."

I saw photo recently of the side of a hill that was exposed because the outer part of the hill is sliding down at a rate of 7" per day. I didn't save it because it was rather far away and, at the time, I didn't know it can happen in the Midwest as well.

Since it is a container train, I'm not surprised there was no hazardous material. But containers do carry high value cargo. Can you imagine what a container full of iPhones would be worth? Also, there is no access to either side of the track, so it is going to be hard (slow and expensive) to clean it up.

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