Growing up in Southern California, I always thought of El Niño as an extremely wet and rainy event. Which this tropical storm IS for CA residents--my folks have been writing about lots of recent rainstorms. But what never hit me before is that this wet weather doesn't just appear in California. It comes from somewhere. And now I know where it comes from: Here!
All of Micronesia is experiencing a severe drought right now. It began about a month ago, and it will likely continue through May or June. Our typically wet, frequently rainy island of lush, green plants is beginning to look a lot more like the dried-out brush of semiarid SoCal. People tend to burn their trash, so threats of wildfires will rise as more of the plants dry out. And because the water system relies on frequent rain, many homes and villages are without fresh water. My house and school still have functioning wells/tanks, but many of my neighbors who once had running water now have to collect their water for drinking, bathing, and cooking from more distant water sources. (Also, on another "don't worry" note, my family buys our drinking water in Kolonia; it will not run out.) Ideally communities will conserve, and those with plenty will help those without, but the longer the drought the more serious the problems that might arise.
This morning, the weird weather expectations got even stranger--my Program Assistant called me about a potential tsunami on its way from the enormous earthquake in Chile. Not only was I concerned for how things were going in Chile, but I was also worrying about our outer island volunteers who live only a few feet above sea level. The good news here is that the tsunami warning was just that--a warning, and no more. We got the all clear just as the wave was scheduled to hit, and it's been determined that there's now no threat to FSM.
So I hope everyone out there is doing alright, and that no more natural disasters cause panic--there have been far too many of late in my opinion. But this post is to let all those news-watching readers know that I'm okay. And thanks for your concern!
Love and sunblock (it's HOT here right now!),