Bleached Skies

Mexico has been in the news again this week, and once again it’s water related. Not, for once, because the stuff is running out. But because there was too much of it. Heavy rainfall, and crappy drainage systems (pun intended) unable to cope, left parts of Mexico City flooded and caused landslides and flooding elsewhere in the country that caused a number of fatalities. On the plus side, if you can look past the dead bodies for a moment, the rain has helped refill the nearly empty reservoirs that supply the city with water, or so I have read.

There’s another plus side though. This is, technically, dry season. Rainy season doesn’t come till May. And typically at this time of the year, pollution in the city is terrible. The cold temperatures trap dirty air in the Valley of Mexico, and the lack of rain means none of it gets washed away. The torrential downpours over the last week have though cleaned our skies. Really cleaned them. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it’s been raining Clorox, the housewives favourite bleach.

The result? Popocatapetl and Iztaccihuatl, the two giant volcanoes sitting a few hours drive outside of the city have become visible. It’s like looking at an old postcard from the city, of decades ago, when they were regularly visible, cloud cover permitting. In my nearly five years here, I’d only ever once before seen them poke their giant frames through the pollution, that being at Christmas in 2008 when  there is less traffic in the city, a little less smoke, and temporarily cleaner skies.

You can see in my video below how much snow there is on the mountains too – it has been a cold, cold winter. I’ve included a photo of Popo from November 2008 so that you can see how little snow there usually is on the peak. I also grabbed a few photos to put up on my Flickr page – click here to see them.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

7 thoughts on “Bleached Skies

  1. Daniel Sosa Tellez says:

    I recommend today’s column by Sergio Sarmiento in Reforma. He talks about how the water has memory -the places that flooded in Mexico City, used to be lakes until the Spaniards decided to drain them and build on their bed. Chalco, Cd. Neza and Ecatepec were built on the basin of lake Texcoco. And, to our chagrin, the water knows that, and hence it makes a comeback every once in a while…


    • Thanks for sharing this video….I live in San Diego, CA…but have relatives in DF…great to see this little clip. Re: the column by Sarmiento….sounds interesting. Would have loved to read it, but unfortunately only subscribers to the paper can read it online! Hate that!


    • It’s fair to say that the original lake was there for a reason – it’s an area that collects water. So yes, any heavy rainfall is going to make its way there! Sadly I got your message too late to go check out the paper!


  2. Nez says:

    Thanks for the video clip…what a lovely view! Or at least whilst you were zoomed in. Snow always makes thing’s look lovelier doesn’t it? (or at least you would think so, given the amount of photos people in the UK send to their local news program of their snowed in garden sheds…)

    Oh and I thought I was the only one who noticed the obsession of Mexican housewives and their Clorox. Clearly I’m not alone in this observation.


    • It’s kind of sad that a camera can’t bring the full scale and majesty of those mountains out. They look much, much, much bigger when you look at them in the flesh. Through a lens they shrink.

      Oh, and don’t get me started on Clorox….


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