John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Massive plumes of muddy, debris-filled water are pouring into the Atlantic.
The catastrophic rains that drubbed the Carolinas have ceased, but many areas are still at risk of major flooding. Why’s that? The run-off from the storms and failed dams has entered streams and rivers, creating violent, ant-filled torrents rushing for exits into the ocean.
The scale of the fluid migration is so massive it’s clear to see from a NASA satellite. This image, put out by the National Weather Service’s branch in Wilmington, North Carolina, shows rivers on Wednesday vomiting dark, sediment-filled water into the Atlantic:
Westward, that huge, dirty smear is a current of mud and debris spreading through Lake Marion. It looks to be about 20 miles long judging from this zoomed-in view from the EOSDIS Worldview:
The lake is still flooded, to believe this shot from Columbia-based photographer Gerry Melendez. You’d need a superhuman vertical leap to rocket out of that morass: