GratiTuesday: Here Comes the Rain Again

California’s drought has lasted over five years. Many of us have learned to take shorter showers, capture running tap water while it is being heated so it isn’t wasted down the drain, and not be so fussy about… um… flushing. Some of us have changed out our landscaping to reflect the desert climate we live in and others have installed water barrels to better manage the rain they get. What at first may have seemed a hassle is now just second nature to most of us. It’s the right thing to do.

In the summer of 2015, we started to read about the warming waters of the Pacific Ocean and how the resulting El Niño weather phenomenon would give Southern California the best chance for above-average rains. I even wrote a post about being grateful that we had a roof over our heads because of the anticipated storms. At the same time, Northern California was predicted to get much less precipitation.

In fact, just the opposite happened.

Last season, Northern California did much better both in the rain they received and the snow levels they experienced. On the other hand, except for a few days of torrential downpours, Southern California’s El Niño was mostly El Disappoint-o.

When El Niño finally vacated the area, and its drier flipside, La Niña started to show herself, we were told to expect little rain this winter. An article in the Los Angeles Times stated, “If the weather phenomenon behaves as expected, the Pacific Northwest and far Northern California will enjoy a wetter than normal winter, while the southern swath of the state will remain dry.”

Well, that didn’t happen either.

rain

Although the prediction was correct regarding the above average rain in Northern California, Southern California has been experiencing a wetter than normal rainy season this year too. In fact, we are now well above average in our seasonal rainfall totals. Even though we hear a few grumbles (including that we don’t know how to drive in the rain – which is true), most of us are willing to put up with any inconvenience for the sake of the overall health of our water supplies.

There has been some discussion about whether or not California’s drought is over. Some say “Yes,” and advocate for the removal of water conservation restrictions. Others argue “No,” and caution against prematurely declaring that all is well. I certainly don’t know the answer, but given our desert climate and how weather patterns have become less-and-less predictable worldwide, I’m willing to take the pragmatic approach and do what I can to help preserve this precious resource into the future.

In the meantime, I am so grateful for the rain we have received so far this season and, hopefully, will continue to enjoy over the next few months.

41 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Here Comes the Rain Again”

  1. I think you are wise to take the pragmatic route and to err on the side of caution. It would seem even the pros aren’t able to predict what has essentially become a crap shoot in the weather department.

    Are you safe in terms of living NOT down stream from a dammed source of water?

  2. Love your title (Eurythmics but if I cover one eye it’s also Jackson Browne).

    I remember driving Highway 41 from Fresno to the coast, and seeing these ridiculous billboards paid by farmers blaming “fake science” on Jim Costa (local Dem congressman) and Nancy Pelosi for government-imposed water restrictions. They refused to accept that any of their problems could be due to global warming. I suppose those same farmers now are thanking Trump for the rains.

    I hope your roof and walls keep you dry… – Marty

    1. Those signs (they were still there last time I checked) irritate the heck out of me. I don’t blame the farmers for wanting all the water they can get, but their over-tapping of our aquifers is an environmental disaster in the making. What Mother Nature took thousands of years to accumulate is being pumped out in mere decades. It’s not just California – it’s a huge national and international problem.

  3. We get to see the no tunnels signs in the delta whenever we drive there (every weekend from April to August)! So…rain! Yes I am thankful, but the old adage, “when it rains it pours” seems to be in force. Seems the whole state is getting water that we desperately need. Northern Californians are still spoiled by having more water, and the wasteful habits will rear their ugly heads again. Being raised in SD in the 70s, when the SD Union Tribune published the water-saving brochure (Dad hung it in our garage), ingrained me to save water. Last year, I drove home at dark and saw a man hiding behind his tree watering his driveway! Sadly, I will see more of that. I just yell out my window, “Use a broom!” LOL! At least California is making the national news daily for the flooding, dams breaking, and freeways breaking apart! Hoping everyone stays safe and SANE during the rest of this rainy season!

    1. Wouldn’t it be great if it paced itself more and we didn’t get it all at once? I read about a bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur that had to be closed due to problems with the supports due to over-saturated hillsides. Like most of the US, we’ve ignored serious infrastructure needs because of the cost to repair them. I think the rain, along with giving us some much-needed relief from the drought, is making some of the infrastructure issues more apparent. Stay safe driving in the rain, Terri!

  4. We also had unusual weather patterns on Vancouver Island this past year. Our winter was colder than normal, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall (we had TONS of white stuff, which is not common for our part of the Island). Our upcoming summer (when you will be out this way) is predicted to be much hotter than usual. September and October are usually quite rainy for us and are supposed to be even rainier this coming year….wish we could send some of that rain your way!

    1. It seems that the weather patterns are odd everywhere (yet, there are some who deny climate change… go figure). As much rain as we have now, I bet that next September and October, we’ll be wishing for more. I can sure understand why you’d rather be in Cocoa Beach, rather that be buried in snow!

  5. I understand that California is now getting too much rain too quickly. That seems to be the pattern now – extreme weather. I don’t understand the naysayers – they’re living in a fool’s paradise.
    Hope you stay dry 🙂

    1. It does appear that extreme weather is happening just about everywhere. Fortunately, Southern California isn’t getting the brunt of the rain, just enough to revitalize the parched earth. Other areas, on the other hand, are experiencing more rain then they need or want. I saw today that up north in San Jose they had flooding and had to rescue some people and shut down a major freeway.

  6. Well, from my vantage point, which is a couple of thousand miles away, it seems like the weather in Calif. consists of drought followed by mudslides followed by drought followed by mudslides, etc. So best to be prepared for either.

  7. Love that song! I don’t understand those who are anti-conservation climate change deniers. Even if they think it might be wrong – why not treat the planet better just in case? They can’t be 100% sure.

  8. When have weather men ever been right? So few times that we are actually ecstatic when the predictions follow through. 🙂

    We were on our sailboat during the last El Niño and feared for more cyclones and for the wildlife in the Galapagos that relies on colder water to survive.

    As for the “water ban” in California… I would keep doing what you have been doing for years. You never know and most of you are used to the water conservation. It is easier to switch to consuming more water whenever that is possible again than switching back to restrictions. I have to think about recycling now… just when everybody in California was getting used to recycling and separating, in some counties, they changed to single stream where everything goes in the garbage can and the recycling apparently happens in the collection areas. Good for lazy people. After procedures like this, if for example they notice less is being recycled, it will be hard again to make people sort and recycle again.

    1. We have single-stream recycling here too. I don’t know how it’s done but somehow it all goes in one big blue can and then it magically gets separated. I don’t think I could ever waste water or not recycle; it’s so ingrained into my DNA to conserve.

  9. Such strange weather patterns, all over the world it seems. Here in southern Ontario, we have been experiencing ever changing weather. Snowfall followed by spring like temperatures, rain, fog, we’ve had it all!

  10. As a native Californian, all I know is relative drought. We exist either before, during, or after drought. But I do love the desert landscaping in so many yards that is a wonderful result of all this water conservation. Brilliant sunshine today 😉

    1. I really prefer landscapes that use succulents and native plants – to my eye, they are so much more interesting than lawns and “traditional” plantings. I think when some people hear “succulents” or “cactus,” they think dull and boring. As you know, succulents come in tons of colors and their flowers are often stunning.

  11. I think continuing to conserve water makes sense! First of all, I think we need to respect the climate we live in, and desert climates need water conservation. And also, even though water is a renewable resource, the problem is that as the earth’s population grows, there are going to be more and more people sharing a resource that has not grown to match it. So, it just makes sense to stay in the habit of conserving it, in my opinion. Glad you are finally getting rain, and thanks for this thoughtful post!

    1. Probably because we have such a transient population, people want to have the landscaping they are used to back home (if I moved back east, I’d probably want to have succulents 🙂 ). You are right about respecting the climate we live in and not try to fight it. I think potable water will become a more and more precious resource around the globe. Even now it is the root cause of a lot of the world’s conflicts.

  12. We have been having unseasonably mild weather here. We are running about 20 degrees above average. I love it but the ski resorts are taking a beating. Weather cannot be predicted. At least by man.

    1. … on the other hand, our ski resorts are very happy right now. 🙂 Weather can’t be predicted, but it’s pretty clear that long-term climate change can be, and it’s having a pretty big impact everywhere. We are enjoying the rain now, but I’m fairly sure our dry days will be back.

  13. I’m sure all that rain, while nourishing the parched soul and environment, does get old. I’m with you, though. Water saving habits shouldn’t just be for drought years. They should be every day practices. It makes no sense to waste any resource simply because it happens to seem abundant.

  14. The weather has been crazy lately! It’s been spring-like for most of the winter here in Nashville. I don’t know what’s going on! The bad part is that parts of California are flooding. Not good!

  15. Alabama weather is always crazy. It has felt like spring this month, and it’s going to be in the 70’s and sunny. Love it!

    I like the name of your blog…today I’m posting a giveaway for 3 of Jena C. Henry’s empty nester books from the series, The Golden Age of Charli. She also is donating a $25 Amazon gift card. It’s at my new blog launch http://www.sweetgumlife.com.

    Hope you all will stop by…I’m a southern wife/mom and blog from that perspective. 🙂

  16. It’s wonderful to see photos from CA that show us rain! I know that everyone l likes to complain about the weather, but in your case it was justified. Hoping that those people who have forgotten how to drive in rain, remember. And those kids who have never driven in rain, learn how quickly.

  17. Other than while travelling in Arizona and living through the incredible inconvenience of not being able to have a fire while camping (sarcasm), I’ve never lived through a drought. I watch what California, Arizona, and other areas go through, watch the wild fires on tv, and certainly feel for you!

    At home, in Canada, the weather is certainly bizarre. I live near Winnipeg, and it’s been off and on melting for a bit, even raining several times this past week. It should be snowing.

    What are we doing to this earth of ours? I guess we just continue to adjust. I hope you have a snazzy umbrella and that your rubber boots have no holes in them. Enjoy the rain!

  18. Two years ago I flew to LA and back to spend Easter with my daughter as she was living there at the time. It was shocking to look down at California from the airplane and see dried up lakes and rivers, and nearly empty reservoirs. Yet, in my daughter’s neighbourhood, there were no watering restrictions, which surprised me. It is good to hear that rain is falling in Southern California.

    Jude

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