When I was a kid there was a little song, probably left over from the Dust Bowl drought of the 1920s that went, “Oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, Oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more. How in the heck will I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more?” When storms roar across the nation the tune changes to, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink!”

While it is flooding in one area of the nation, another is bone dry and experiencing a drought. What the heck is wrong? The “Dust Bowl” was the fault of poor farming technique; crop rotation, irrigation and strip farming seemed to cure that with naturally dry areas becoming National Grasslands. But the drought of the last decade, prior to mid-2013 in the Southeast and still devastating in California, was a natural disaster, aided by poor land management. The forested states once referred to certain seasons as the “fire season,” with lightning-caused forest fires easily brought under control. Now that season is nearly all year — and every state in the union has experienced such fires. The forest and suburban hillside fires burn away the vegetation, and when rain actually does come, the hills turn to mud and slide down the side, destroying everything in their path. (See Chapter 12, Catastrophe Claims — Insurance Coverage for Natural and Man-Made Disasters, May, 2014 Ed., Thomson Reuters West.)

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