Sunday, December 19, 2010

Okay, we have had enough rain for a while

The "seasonal creek" runs through our property, but rarely this fast!

Camp Connell, Ca -- We were pretty happy when we had a long cool Spring, a mild summer and no forest fires within miles of where we live during the driest months of the year.
After several years of near-drought conditions it was a relief.
Fall was brief.
Snow started falling before Thanksgiving, and seemed as if it would not stop. We had six feet or so within two weeks, the ski resort opened early, and I managed two ski days without injury before Turkey Day.
Then the snow stopped at our elevation, we had a brief thaw, and then the rains came.
We lived a part of our lives in Florida so we are familiar with real rain, as opposed to what we normally get here in the mountains. Summer and Fall are dry here, while in Florida we could get four inches in an hour or so from one good summer thunderstorm. I think we lived here for several years before we even heard thunder.
In Florida you just pull off to the side of the road until it stops.
In California you wonder what the heck is going on.
The Winter of 2010-2011 is shaping up to be different in our mountains. It has been raining, really raining, for several days. Or weeks. I think I heard one of the TV guys say we are running about 150% of normal for snow pack before the normal heavy snow season begins. The rain must be three or four times normal for this time of year.
When you drive the roads of the Mother Lode country it looks like the Smokey Mountains, mist and fog and everything dripping wet. Beautiful, but very different from what we are used to.
We went by our daughter's home near Murphys today after church and Coyote Creek was out of its banks and into the road in large areas, around eight inches deep and getting deeper. All the gopher holes on their property were spouting water turned red by the mud. The gophers, presumably, have headed for higher ground.
My son Zack works at a ski resort at 7,000 feet and they have been shoveling for days to keep the place going. At that altitude it is almost all snow. They expect six to eight feet from this storm.
Here at our home at 5,000 feet it has rained and rained and rained. We've had 4 inches in the last two days, maybe a record. I suspect it will be ten inches or more from this storm by the end of the week.
The bridge to our neighbor's house is still above water, proof that FEMA was wrong and we are NOT in a flood zone.

The seasonal creek has gone ballistic, ripping down the hill below the house like white water rapids people pay to visit.
The wind has kicked up enough to bring down lots of limbs, and a tree or two We heard a big "boom" earlier but can't find out where it came from.
The latest series of storms to roar in off the Pacific came just as son Zack and Granddaughter Katie left to drive to Spokane Washington. At last report they are safe, but the first day of the trip was in pouring rain, and the last 300 miles or so have been in snow. They should arrive at Spokane tonight, where only two or three inches and cold temps are forecast.
They are fine, but as Zack said on the phone a while ago:"Thank God we are in the Subaru with snow tires." Lots of cars and trucks off on the side. (This is not a product placement advertisement: everyone here loves Subarus.)
Here the rain is still coming down as of 6 p.m. Sunday, but the temperature is dropping steadily. The expectation is that by 10 p.m. it will change to snow.
That figures, since I need to drive to the marina at San Francisco Bay to check on the boat, and it looks like a long day.
Pat will stay home and keep the fire going, take care of the nervous dog, and make soup. She will have the old pickup truck if she needs to escape. She will have quiet and beautiful snow for company.
And I will be driving in the rain.

The forecast is for rain and/or snow for the next five to seven days.

Santa better have his radar turned on.

This Christmas event Saturday was hoped-for as a sleigh ride, but the rain made it a covered carriage ride.

Note: I used to chuckle when Pat's dad included a detailed weather report in every letter and phone call from his Florida home. Now, I understand.

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