Congratulations, Northern California!
While most of the US has had exciting weather for the past few years–blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes, punishing heat–it’s been quiet around here. Sure, we’ve had a drought going for more than five years, but you can’t call that exciting. “Yep, no rain again today. Guess we better hide in the no-storm cellar till it passes.”
But it looks like things are starting to change, and we’re getting a little weather excitement of our very own this weekend. According to the Chron, meteorologists are saying the storm expected to hit Sunday “…is shaping up to be a significant event.”
We’re being warned about flooding in all the major rivers, possibly at record-setting levels in some cases.
OK, so maybe it’s not much for those of you in the soggier parts of the country, but a foot of rain is pretty darn thrilling around here.
Coming as it does after an unusually wet fall–some weather stations around the Bay Area are running as much as 150% of normal rainfall–there’s much rejoicing over this storm. “The drought is over!” goes the cry.
Not so much.
Yes, most of the reservoirs are full and the snowpack is more than 80% of normal levels. (The snowpack provides nearly a third of the water the state uses during the spring and summer, so 80+% is nice to see.) A foot of rain will help, right? Nope.
The problem is that most of what we’re going to get this weekend is going to fall as rain, not snow, even in higher elevations. The snow is thoroughly saturated already, so when the rain hits, the snow is going to melt. A good chunk of that 80+% is going to be headed downhill. And, as I said, the reservoirs are already full.
Thus, it “…could be the most significant flood in six years, and more significant than that in other parts of the state.”
Don’t bother with ankle boots and hip waders, folks. Stock up on wet suits and personal flotation devices.
Stay clear of trees and power lines, try to enjoy the thrills the rest of the country’s been hogging for the past half-decade, and pray that the rest of the winter will be slowly wet to re-replenish the snowpack.