The 5 Most Insanely Apocalyptic Photos of America Right Now
If you've seen the news lately or, like, gone outside for even a second, you may have noticed that the United States is currently suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent history, with half of the country now officially going through a major dry spell.
Suddenly, Texas wishes it wasn't a red state.
But, you know ... it's just a little water (or the lack thereof). It's not like the country is running out of something essential, like booze or something. What's the worst that could happen? Well, it turns out that besides the normal side effects like increasing earthquakes, raising mountains, and sinking the land, the drought is also bringing freakier consequences straight out of a Roland Emmerich CGI-fest, such as ...
Towns Are Being Invaded by Mountains of Tumbleweed
For those who don't live in the hotter, desert-er regions of the world where nobody should be living anyway, tumbleweed is something you see in cartoons when they want to indicate that the town Scooby and the gang just rolled into is empty. But, much like birds or babies, tumbleweeds aren't that funny when you leave the house one morning and find an army of them staring at you -- which is what's happening right now in several U.S. states.
"Block's ours now. You ain't made of weed, keep walking."
No, those are not stills from a new M. Night Shyamalan/Marky Mark collaboration. The current drought (which slowly took shape beginning in 2010 for parts of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado) has given birth to mountains of orphan tumbleweed. Normally, herds of cattle would be used to get rid of the tumbling weed, but this isn't "normally" -- because of the drought, ranchers don't have enough water to keep enough animals alive, so the only way humanity can fight back against this formidable enemy is with trucks. As in, trucks to push the tumbleweeds elsewhere.
The truck went inside the mountain and came out the other side carrying skeletons.
You might be thinking, "Well, why don't they just burn them?" They do, sometimes, but then they run the risk of accidentally combining a mountain of burning tumbleweed with a dust devil and ending up with this abomination from Satan's laughing ass crack itself:
Luckily, the heat quickly dried the pee on their pants.
Holy shit, that's why all those old towns in the Scooby-Doo cartoons are empty: The tumbleweeds killed everyone.
Entire Cities Are Being Swallowed by Dust
With a drought comes a severe lack of water, and with a severe lack of water comes an insane amount of dust. What do you get when you apply the same concept of your grandmother's hot, stuffy, dust-covered attic to the scale of an entire Texas county? A 1,000-foot wall of dust, 200 miles wide.
"It's like Godzilla on enchilada night."
The huge fucking dust cloud, or haboob, caused a commotion in Texas back in March ... in part because "haboob" is a Muslim word and people got angry at the weather guys for saying it on TV (see, they should have gone with "huge fucking dust cloud"), but also because, in some counties, the air was so thick with dust particles that you could barely cringe at the bumper stickers on the car ahead of you.
"Guys, I think we're in Oz. And everybody's dead."
And it's not just Texas: Last week, a giant dust storm in New Mexico killed six people. Even in Nevada, where these things are pretty rare, the dust made an entire city fade out like a McFly family photo. Here's a time lapse:
"Suck it, David Copperfield."
We've gotten to the point where some parts of Texas and other drought-ridden states are about 10 percent drier than the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s. So basically, get out your zombie survival kits and repackage them with gallons and gallons of water. Oh, and fluffy dusters.
It's Literally Changing the Landscape
We totally understand if you think the current drought is just another case of overhyped media sensationalism -- those guys do love making everyone panic for bullshit reasons. However, if you want proof that this really is the worst drought in decades, check out this image of California and its Sierra Nevada mountains last year:
This being near Hollywood, there's some debate as to how much of that is actually snow.
And here's that same satellite image adjusted to the now:
Nevada and Oregon have tried to stage an intervention, but California keeps insisting it can stop whenever it wants to.
California looks like what happens to your shoe after you scrape all the flattened grass and petrified dog shit off the bottom. Unfortunately, in this case there are several million Californians who need that grass and poop to live. So how bad do things have to be for this to happen? Imagine the lowest rainfall year on record as a line on the wall, beneath all the other records of all the other years. Now halve that, and that's what California is going through right now.
Or imagine a big lake suddenly down to only 17 percent of its capacity in less than three years. Actually, you don't have to imagine that, because here it is:
Then you've got Mount Shasta, which should have been blanketed in snow in January, but had lost a ton since November:
Just as the documentary series Shasta McNasty predicted.
And all those wildfires you've been seeing on TV? You can also see them from space, giving the impression that California itself is so stressed from all this shit that it just said "Fuck it, give me a smoke":
"Or two. I'm also smoking out of my butthole in this metaphor."
Structures Not Seen in Generations Are Surfacing Again
With all of California's water reserves drying up comes another surprise: Since many of these lakes are man-made and didn't exist in the old-timey days, there's a lot of shit hidden beneath all that water that's now seeing light for the first time in decades, or even centuries. Earlier this year, residents of Santa Barbara noticed that their lake had gone missing, and in its place was this old, now pointless causeway and/or bridge from the 1930s.
They now skinny dip in the bridge.
And this wasn't some small wimpy-ass lake -- this was Lake Cachuma, which during better days looked like there should be elves and hobbits bathing in it. Then there's Lake Don Pedro in Tuolumne County, which, at only 51 percent capacity because of the drought, unexpectedly revealed a goldmine of a discovery: a literal goldmine that had been underwater since disco pants were the hottest fashion.
The original Michael Jackson was found inside.
Then, of course, you have the beautiful and luscious Folsom Lake in California, which is more like ugly and barren now that it's at 17 percent capacity, looking like a malnourished Chihuahua to the golden retriever of its past. And underneath all that water? An entire abandoned gold rush town, previously known as Mormon Island, that hadn't been seen since the mid-1800s ...
... which leads us to another bizarre side effect of this drought: Prospectors are flocking back to California to look for gold in the newly dry places (hopefully with less slavery and dysentery this time around).
The Fire Is Straight Out of Hell
As we mentioned before, the wildfires in California are really getting out of control now that there's considerably less water to fight them ... but it's one thing to tell you and quite another to show it to you:
"GAH! Kill it with ... wait, fuck, no."
That vision of hell is actually from a video of some guys driving through a normal neighborhood in San Diego, where 9,000 acres have already been gulped down by the insatiable fire. The insane heat from the drought has gotten so bad that even the littlest things can spark a wildfire, like titanium golf clubs swinging against the green. Yes, that's what it's come to, thanks to this drought: Now we have to play golf with regular metal clubs.
Even scarier? Freaking firenadoes:
Coming soon to SyFy.
Nope, unfortunately for your peace of mind, "firenado" is not a word we just made up: These are actual tornadoes of fire that were filmed raging around Carlsbad only a couple of weeks ago, which is what happens when God gets a little extra pissed at the masturbators out there.
"I give you Rescue Rangers, and you give me Rule 34? Fuck you."
Firenadoes are pretty hard to fight, probably because even a seasoned firefighter would be a little distracted going "HOLY SHIT WHAT AM I LOOKING AT" to aim efficiently. But you know, even if they can't turn them off, they can just wait until the next time it rai- dammit.
The third part of XJ's epic science fiction novel is out now on Amazon. The first $0.99 novella can be found here, with Part 2 out here. Or leave a review and get a free copy! Poke him on Twitter and follow him on Facebook.