Rain in the Desert

When it rains in the desert, it tends to come down hard and fast, and doesn’t soak in as much as it runs to lower ground. We had a quick and hard shower at work today, but it evaporated pretty quickly. Just about as dry two hours after as it was before. (About 20 miles away at home, not a drop fell.) Some of my coworkers had gone out to lunch and got wet.

red pickup in giant mudpuddle
The highway a block from our house. That’s a full-sized pickup going 60mph.

If it rains for more than a few minutes, life can get interesting. You’ve probably seen pictures of people driving through flooded streets — they use them to channel water since it “doesn’t rain enough” to justify underground drainage(!) — but the challenges don’t end there. Folks here drive the same in rain, snow and ice like they do when it is dry; they drive fast. Nevermind the little (or not so little) car getting swamped by your rooster tail! And if that pickup with the lift kit can barely get through the intersection, surely the little Toyota Corolla will make it, too. Semi-trucks will get swamped in certain places, and people will still try to get around them.

truck stuck in mud
“But it was just dust, Friday”

Where my husband was working a couple of months ago, they were fighting dust as fine as powdered sugar. Two or more feet of it! He does pipeline construction, and his crew was doing cleanup. That means they’re working behind everyone else, filling the ditch and pulling the dirt in from the sides and smoothing it out, with the topsoil on top for the farmers and ranchers. Some days they couldn’t see what they were doing for dust. We had been in a drought for several months.

Then it rained one Sunday. All day. Glorious, wet, drenching rain! All of my husbands crew took the lease roads (compacted dirt) to get to their tractors the next morning but one. In his infinite wisdom, that hand decided to drive the Right Of Way (the work area) instead. And when he saw standing water, he decided to plow on instead of turning around. He’s got four wheel drive, after all. The picture is the result.

The bulldozer that pulled him out almost got bogged down, too! The bright side is that hand got to wade through that mud at least twice. But I doubt he learned his lesson.

Rain in the desert is a blessing indeed, but a mixed one if you don’t use a bit of common sense!

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