The Damp Isn’t the Worst of It

You may have heard that it’s been wet in California lately. I’m here to confirm that the rumors are true.

We’ve had rainfall of biblical proportions*.

* Overstatement. It hasn’t rained continuously for forty days and forty nights (though it does feel like it). But there have been record-setting quantities of precipitation, and I suspect that more than a few residents of the Bay Area wish they had built arks.

Yesterday was the worst so far. Not in the quantity so much as in the special effects department. There was just a tiny bit of thunder and lightning* to go along with the rain and hail.

* Understatement. Multiple thunderstorms with massive, multi-second, literally house-shaking rolls of thunder.

We’ve been fortunate (picture me knocking on wood at this point). No flooding (other than a leak in the garage roof, directly over the spot where our phone line comes in), the foundations are still solid, the storm drains in our area are keeping up with the precipitation, and we haven’t lost power.

But I can say with no fear of contradiction that Bay Area felines aren’t used to thunder and don’t have a clue what to do about it.

Hiding seems to be a popular choice. Sachiko and Lefty disappeared into the master bedroom closet the first time the house shook and didn’t reappear until nearly dinnertime. Emeraldas vanished into an undisclosed location and wasn’t seen until this morning.

G’aw curled up in the Rose Cottage in the back yard, tucked his ears under his stomach and appeared to sleep through the afternoon storm.

‘Nuki, self-proclaimed master of the universe, slunk into my office making pitiful meepling noises and required a good fifteen minutes of snuggles before he calmed down enough to sink a couple of claws into my leg.

Kokoro’s been around long enough to have seen and heard it all; she woke up when the thunder hit, looked around, and went back to napping. Smart lady.

To be fair, Bay Area humans aren’t all that great with thunder either. My reaction has been to hold my breath, waiting for the lights to go out. Hypoxia was a real risk.

Reports say we’ve got at least another week of rain. Here’s hoping it doesn’t include thunder.

It’s (Not) Raining Again

I hate to come off as a whiner. And I know it’s unreasonable for me to be unhappy with the weather we’re getting. In the face of snow in Rome, sub-zero temperatures across most of the US, and torrential rains in the Northwest, it seems petty to complain about what my local microclimate is experiencing.

Overnight lows in the thirties and daytime highs in the sixties probably sounds heavenly to a large part of the world’s population right now.

Typing with cold, stiff fingers sucks, and I feel guilty cranking the heat up, but truthfully, the temperatures aren’t what I feel compelled to complain about.

No, it’s the precipitation. Or rather, the lack of it.

All the signs say we’re heading for another drought summer. And then we get teases like this week. We were supposed to get rain. Maybe not enough to restock the reservoirs and fill out the snowpack, but at least a gesture in the direction of liquidity.

Sunday night’s forecast called for rain all week. Scattered showers, mostly, but every day. So what happened?

Yesterday we had clear skies most of the day. Around 4:30 it clouded up and we got maybe ten minutes of not-very-hard rain. And now the forecast is for sun today and clouds-but-no-significant-rain the rest of the week.

Not only is this no way to run a railroad, it’s no way to run any other business. If I could figure out who’s in charge, I’d call and file a complaint. Or, since this isn’t the first time, perhaps I should explore legal options. There are, after all, laws against this sort of bait and switch operation.

Seriously, though, this sort of brief, rainy interlude is cause for concern. We’re going to have a dry summer, not just this year, but most years going forward. The State Water Resources Control Board is considering permanent bans on watering median strips, doing any watering within forty-eight hours of a rainfall, and washing cars without a shut-off spigot on the hose.

Those are small measures, but they promote a “save water” attitude. Multiple short rains, such as we seem to be getting now, have an opposite effect. The little voice in the back of your head saying, “We’ve had so many rainy days, how can we be short on water?” doesn’t encourage conservation.

So, whoever’s running the rain spigots, quit playing games. Either give us all the rain we need, or don’t give us any.