Friday, July 31, 2015

This Blog a Washout

"Ariz. city reaps benefits from nearby road collapse" by Astrid Galvan Associated Press  July 24, 2015

Yuma is usually a sleepy town on the way to San Diego. But it has seen thousands more visitors as traffic between Phoenix and Los Angeles is rerouted, prompting a brief but welcome boom.

Fast-food parking lots and gas stations have been packed all week as travelers make their way to and from California....

Summer is generally the slow season for the farming city of fewer than 100,000 people near the Mexico border that counts on ‘‘snow birds’’ in the winter to keep its economy afloat.

But the rerouted drivers have meant more traffic for businesses, both in Yuma and other towns along the detour from Interstate 10.

Parker, Ariz., about 36 miles north of I-10 near the California border, saw a spike in traffic on Monday, said tourism coordinator Josh Savino.

The Parker Area Tourism office has been posting messages on social media that offer discounts and tout the town’s attractions.

One post features a postcard of a lake with the caption, ‘‘Parker, Arizona. Best Detour Ever.’’

‘‘Come back on purpose next time,’’ it reads.

John Courtis, executive director of the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, said a McDonald’s that normally has a dozen cars in the parking lot has been packed, but the effort by business and tourism officials to capitalize on the freeway closure caused by flooding was shortened when California announced it was reopening the highway Friday.

Courtis said his office had been planning a Lynyrd Skynyrd-themed ad campaign dubbed ‘‘Gimme Three Stops,’’ a play on a song by the group, urging people passing through to visit the McDonald’s, a gas station, and one shop in town.

‘‘If the I-10 was going to be closed for two or three months, we’d really do some fun promoting,’’ Courtis said.

Ann Walker, a spokeswoman for the Yuma Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the organization has been using social media to entice drivers to stop and take a look around.

Gotta beg (and make sure you stop at the McDonald's!).


Related: "An unusually strong summer storm dumped up to 7 inches in the area near Desert Center, about 50 miles west of California’s border with Arizona."

Also see: Melting My Bridges

"Flood led to California bridge collapse, officials say; Problem creates chaos on key link from L.A. to Ariz." by Brian Skoloff and Justin Pritchard Associated Press  July 21, 2015

DESERT CENTER, Calif. — Despite the heavy rains, California is coping overall with record drought. Regulators on Monday proposed a $1.5 million fine for a group of Central Valley farmers accused of illegally taking water during the drought.

It would be the first such fine against an individual or district with claims to water that are more than a century old, known as senior water rights holders. The action reflects the rising severity of the four-year drought, which has prompted the state to demand cutbacks from those historically sheltered from mandatory conservation.

The State Water Resources Control Board said the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area illegally took water from a pumping plant even after it was warned in June enough water was not legally available.

Relying on water rights dating to 1914, the district serves 160 farming families in three counties in the agriculture-rich Central Valley and a residential community of 12,000 people.

"Off-the-charts heat is "getting to be a monthly thing," said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June was the fourth month of 2015 that set a record, she said." 

(Blog editor just shakes his head)