Monday, March 07, 2016

Here Come Those Rains Again

Here come those rains again...After a February pause, it's been raining--almost three inches of it in the first week of March, much of it this past weekend.  And they say the storms are lining up, with the next one (now predicted for Tues. night and Wednesday) rumored to be bigger than any so far this month.  Just under 5 and a half inches is the monthly average, so at this pace we could top it by mid month.

It's hard to get a fix on how big this could be--so far this is the most generous general story I've seen.  More than 100 inches of snow in the Sierras!  That's drought-busters.  The local National Weather Service is more methodical and short-term, but at least for this week it looks like we're in for days of heavy rain punctuated by days of light rain.

Update late Mon. 3/7: Forecasts don't agree on timing of storms coming in this week but one suggests we may be in for more than 6 inches of rain in the next 7 days, which is itself more than the March average.

And a neat stat from San Jose Mercury News: "With rain totals reaching 10 inches or more in some mountain areas, 46 of the largest reservoirs in California, closely tracked by the state Department of Water Resources, collectively added 391 billion gallons of water between Friday and Monday morning -- enough for the needs of 6 million people for a year."  While some of the reservoirs are now near normal for this time of year, others are still substantially lagging--and none are actually full.

El Nino, the Blob, the Ridiculously Rigid Ridge, the Atmospheric River--we've heard them all, it's like cartoon characters out there.  But the River seems to be winning now, powered by El Nino and global heating.

Some people have already been killed or injured during this weekend's storms elsewhere in the state. Accidents happen, but people sometimes help them along with foolhardiness or panic. We need to respect the weather, and sometimes I wonder if we've forgotten how.  Wind, rain, flooding, high tides--they can all be dangerous, they must be respected.

Hereabouts the storms don't have to be violent--just relentless--to have consequences.  I'm kind of amazed we didn't lose electricity this weekend.  But as these storms come through, it's more likely to happen.  Water levels in the rivers and streams will build, saturated hills make mudslides more likely.

When you don't respect it, there are these oscillations between cheerful complacency (in my car I am invulnerable!) and overdoing it panic (I must rush out immediately and clear out the supermarket of everything or we'll all die!)  Which kind of describes a lot of things these days.

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