Weather chaos

There have been some crazy weather-related things happening here recently. You may recall that I mentioned some “huaicos” (mudslides) a couple weeks ago when we went into Pucusana for dinner. I said that there’s been a lot of rain in the highlands, and as a result, the water levels in the rivers are much higher than they usually are at this time of year. The problem with Pucusana is that the “dried up” river bed that used to serve as an escape path was developed, so the water can’t drain that way anymore. Also, when it re-filled with water, it did damage to the buildings that were built in the river bed, as you might expect. Since the water can’t drain, it overflowed over the road that leads into Pucusana, and I’m not even sure if it’s all cleaned up yet, two weeks later.

A couple of Pucusana throwbacks.. Yes, there is a street underneath that water.

Good thing those light posts are there to show us where the street is supposed to be…

Now, things are getting even crazier. Yesterday, the Chilca River overflowed, flooded parts of Chilca, and ran over the Pan-American! That’s the biggest highway here, and it’s more than just a Peruvian highway. It’s so long that it runs from Canada, through the USA, Mexico, and Central America, to South America where it runs mostly down the western coast to Chile and has a branch that runs into Argentina. There’s an impassable gap between Central and South America, but it’s still an amazing roadway. The point is, this isn’t just some little, 4 lane road. It’s a big deal! And the river flowed over and blocked it! They managed to re-route traffic around the flooding, but the fact that it even happened is blowing everyone’s minds. This isn’t normal.
To make things even more ridiculous, there were MORE huaicos today, north of us. That’s moving into Lima, so now we’re not even talking about the little town of Chilca. This is the capital city! To give you an idea of the craziness of today, we had three people on staff who went up to Lima today, all to do different things. The first person to head home made it with no trouble. The second person, leaving not long after the first, got past the location of huaico #1 before it hit but got stuck behind huaico #2. The third person got completely stuck in Lima, trapped behind both huaicos.

The guy who was stuck in the middle had to just sit in traffic until they figured things out. He said things were a bit chaotic, as one would guess. There are dead animals in the water, and he has videos of people working to save pigs that got stuck. Everyone is so thrown off that I’m not even sure that anyone knows what to do to fix it all.

We’re located in the desert, and since I’ve been here, it has rained probably more than 10 times, and with actual raindrops. The first time it happened, everyone told me that it NEVER rains during the summer, and when it does, it’s more of a mist. Well, it looks like that’s not the case this year. So just think… if we’re getting all of this “never happens” rain, the highlands must be getting dumped on.

To make things even more dramatic, we haven’t been getting water over the last couple weeks. Normally, the water in the town is only turned on at very specific times. They email out a schedule of when there will be water, and we have to turn on our water pump at the scheduled times so that our water tanks get filled as much as possible before it shuts off again. Recently, the water has been off with no word about the schedule, and today we found out that it’s because the well has gotten flooded by the river waters. I don’t know how it all works exactly, but with the way that it’s currently set up, the water can’t be turned back on until the flood goes down. There’s a way to update the well so this won’t happen again, but in order to do the work, the ground has to be dry. So they’re estimating that the water won’t come back on for a few months! We can get water delivered by a water truck, but it definitely makes you think… where’s the water truck getting its water? And what if the same thing happens there that happened to our neighborhood well? Craziness.

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