Author Topic: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season  (Read 9904 times)

elagache

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Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« on: September 17, 2015, 11:18:49 PM »
Dear WeatherCat drought watchers,

the Orinda Classic Car show wasn't enough by itself to make it rain, but 4 days later we finally got the first rainfall of the 2015-16 season:



There were two more "bucket tips" overnight bringing the rainfall total to 0.07" (1.8mm).  Definitely nothing more than a drop in the bucket and with a heatwave expected for the weekend little help for the vegetation.  Still it is very early to receive any measurable precipitation and the forecast models are continuing to show variable weather.  We'll just have to see if this is really the start of a wetter pattern or not.

Edouard 

elagache

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First real storm of the year!! (Re: Northern CA's 2015-16 rainy season)
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2015, 09:45:05 PM »
Dear WeatherCat drought watchers,

Well, October was essentially a complete bust, but November is off to a nice start in northern California.  The promised storm of last night was indeed just the right size, not too much water that could cause damage, but enough to get the ground thoroughly wet and wash down the dust and debris.  Here is the storm as recorded by my WC Storm Monitor AppleScript (I've relocated the growl notifications to read normally one column at a time from left to right.)



The rainfall rates were sufficient to penetrate even very dense trees, so everything truly got wet.  The total rainfall is 0.65" (16.5mm) to this moment.  There was even enough runoff to start refilling the creeks:



This creek has been completely dry since late June, so the wildlife will be very happy to have that water source back.

Now the only problem is where is the next storm.  Thus far nothing expected through the 7 day forecast, but the pattern does seem more winter-like all of a sudden.  We'll see.

Cheers, Edouard

Bull Winkus

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2015, 10:28:19 PM »
Congratulations, Edouard! This could be the start of something good…

 [cheers1]
Herb

HantaYo

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 11:06:25 AM »
Great rain, hopefully most of it soaked in [cheer]  Here is to more nice, ground soaking rains  [cheers1]

Ground is still wet from the much needed rain we received almost 2 weeks ago.  Snow in the forecast here with potential heavy snow in the mountains- winter storm watch in effect for the western slope of Colorado.  New snow tires on the Subaru, (it is amazing how much tread is on new tires) so El Nino -

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away [bounce] [bounce] [bounce]



elagache

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Waiting for the next one. (Re: Northern CA's 2015-16 rainy season)
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 11:24:45 PM »
Dear Herb, Jeff, and WeatherCat drought watchers,

Thanks, it was definitely most welcome.  I've done the mulch spreading routine so the water will take a while to evaporate around the house.  Also with the days definitely getting shorter, the sunlight isn't reaching large areas of the year thanks to all the shady trees.  So there is a lot of relief just from this one storm.

However, as one might expect, I'm getting anxious for the next storm.  Alas, all they are forecasting is a storm missing us to the North.  At least the pattern it looking more winter-like.

Cheers, Edouard

P.S. At least I put today's cool but clear conditions to good use.  I defrosted our 40+ year old freezer!

P.P.S. and yes, I watered the plants with melted ice! . . .  [rolleyes2]

HantaYo

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2015, 02:17:48 PM »
Quote
P.P.S. and yes, I watered the plants with melted ice! . . .

Always recycling the water around here as well.  I just feel guilty letting clean water go down the drain.

elagache

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El Niño Spigot finally opening? (Re: California's 2015-16 rainy season )
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2016, 11:08:20 PM »
Dear WeatherCat drought watchers,

The San Francisco bay area is poised to have a number of "juicy" storms come through.  Yesterday's National Weather Service discussion went like this:

Quote
Storms thus far this winter have been fairly typical...cold and more from the Northwest. For the upcoming week, the Bay area may finally start seeing a more El Niño type storm track from the west- southwest with a good sub-tropical jet.

The first storm is due tomorrow with additional storms expected later in the week.  Could this be the start of the long promised El Niño event?

Stay tuned!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2016, 01:53:43 AM »
Edouard,

Are your ready for the Pineapple Express?  You did take out flood insurance didn't you?

Looks like the the jet is on the move and you are ground zero- watch out for incoming "bombs".  Just leave a few drops for Colorado.  It will be interesting watching if the pattern develops and holds through the spring.  Perhaps a winter/spring like 1982/1983?  I still remember the Christmas Blizzard of 1982.  Roads were closed for a week.

elagache

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Bumper to bumper - storms! (Re: Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season )
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2016, 11:42:31 PM »
Dear Jeff and WeatherCat drought watchers, . . . .

Are your ready for the Pineapple Express?  You did take out flood insurance didn't you?

Looks like the the jet is on the move and you are ground zero- watch out for incoming "bombs".  Just leave a few drops for Colorado.  It will be interesting watching if the pattern develops and holds through the spring.  Perhaps a winter/spring like 1982/1983?  I still remember the Christmas Blizzard of 1982.  Roads were closed for a week.

The forecast is for at least 2 weeks of sustained storms and above average rainfall through the rest of the month.  The Climate Predication Center forecasts expect above average rainfall for as long as they are willing to forecast.  So on the plus side it should make a huge dent in the drought.  On the minus side, it is likely to do a lot of damage.  There was one fallen tree not to far from here - before the long series of storms had arrived.  We are definitely battening down the hatches!

Cheers, Edouard

elagache

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Tightrope between to little and too much rain! (Re: CA 2015-16 rainy season)
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 10:47:13 PM »
Dear WeatherCat extreme weather watchers,

The rainfall at Canebas Weather station is barely keeping up with normal January.  At this moment we are 0.27" (6.9mm) of rain ahead of where we should be for January 13th (according to my synthetic channel calculation.)  That's because we got an energetic and wet storm in this morning's predawn hours.  We picked up 0.47" (11.9mm) of rain with a peak rate of 3.29"/hour (83.6mm/hour.)  It was also very windy with a peak gust of: 17 mph (27.4 km/h).  All this was too much for a local pine tree:



As you can see this was a large and tall tree!  Thankfully it fell only to an unused hill and damaged nothing more than a fence panel, but if a tree this size would have struck a person, he/she would not have survived and any man-made objects in its way would be destroyed or at least badly damaged.

The rain is expected to pick up next week with several storms expected over the next 7-9 days.  We really need the rain, but there is no avoiding the storm damage from trees weakened by the drought.  So far, it really isn't looking like the El Niño conditions have been forecasted to bring a prolonged period of very heavy rains.  Such rains might be sufficient to break the drought, but there is no doubt, only at the cost of a lot more storm-related damage.

Definitely looking like a wild ride for California this winter!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2016, 12:12:18 AM »
Looks like extremely dry ground where the roots had been. If that had been a local tree, you would have seen a huge root ball composed mostly of the clay we call "soil" here. Looks like there is really nothing for the roots to hold on to or they were already dead. It is rare to have a moth without gust exceeding 20mph here and we don't usually have trees downed until al least 30mph. Dead limbs/trees can fall at almost any time, but not live ones.

Is that by any chance a 'filled' area? Perhaps it's just a very short fence or one with very wide boards. I'm just wondering if the fence is also partly a 'terrace' wall.

Glad no one was injured and the damage was minimal! I still think you should move farther away from the left edge of the continent! :o

elagache

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That's the drought for you . . (Re: CA 2015-16 rainy season )
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 12:25:16 AM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat arborists . . .

Looks like extremely dry ground where the roots had been.

. . .

Is that by any chance a 'filled' area?

Actually that soil has been undisturbed since at least when we moved to this house in 1980 and is probably much older.

The soil is that dry because of the drought and because the trees have been sheltering the ground from the rains we've gotten so far.

I checked the area this afternoon and another tree looks close falling over.  We'll see!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

elagache

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El Nino comes through! (Re:Northern CA 2015-16 rainy season)
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2016, 12:30:29 AM »
Dear WeatherCat drought watchers,

So far it has been a dry to normal rainy season for California.  However, December and January has finally started bring us substantially above normal rainfall.  My Vantage Pro-2 console tells the tale on the latest storm:



Since I took that photo we have picked up some additional rain and find ourselves at 3.81" (96.8mm) for the storm.  There might be another bucket tip or two before it is completely over.  Today brought us a sustained period of heavy rain:



At least in California, picking up almost an inch of rain in 5 hours is enough to bring about a risk of flooding especially when the ground is already saturated.

I went around the area this afternoon to take a look at the effect.  I didn't find any damage but some areas clearly were flooded during the peak rains.  The effect of the running water was interesting.  I took this photo of water jumping over a concrete obstruction in the street gutter:



Here is a small creek that was rushing into the storm drain system:



I didn't see any signs of landslides but the ground is plenty saturated.  I saw this "natural drain:"



I"m guessing a gopher or other natural hole became a impromptu drain for that hill.

Here is one last photo of that fallen tree that I posted earlier.  It has finally gotten cut into pieces:



That gives you a good idea of the size of that tree!  No other trees have fallen but the same property had another tree in the process of being taken down.  They weren't taking any more chances!

We are already 20% over the rainfall for January with more rain expected at the end of this week and probably more rain before the end of the month.  We are also at 98% of normal rainfall for the year (July-January.)  So we are guaranteed to finally pull ahead of normal rainfall for period for the first time this rainy season.

The drought is a long way from over, but December and January have both been wet.  If February and March follow suit, it might be enough to end water restriction.  Here's to hoping!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2016, 12:47:26 AM »
Nice photos. Thanks for the update. Glad to see there rain there. It turned into snow here, and we need it too.
Blick


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Re: Highlights from Northern California's 2015-16 rainy season
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2016, 01:05:41 AM »
Amazing how that tree came apart! It must have been very dry and full of those 'fault lines' you Californians are famous for!