Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Weather Below the Radar

Yes, this is a post about the weather.

No, the weather here in Northern California has not had the impact of the rains, floods and tornados of the rest of the country. But yes, strange and unsettled weather does seem to abound this year.

Today is June 1st, normally we would already be a full month into fire season. You see California has a wet and a dry season. Up here in the north, the rains comes from late October until April. Then everything dries out and we have fire season. Sometimes long fire seasons. Today as I look out my window, I see very little of the great view towards the City and Bay of San Francisco because it is raining. Checking the weather report, there is yet another much bigger storm coming our way this weekend. Our wet season is not even close to being over.

Yesterday I read that the waterfalls in Yosemite Park are spectacular this spring because of all the snow melt. We have had 20% and in some areas 40% above average snow pack this winter. This means great waterfalls, more water for the reservoirs and hopefully more for the Central Valley farms. And, if the view from my window is not a saturated mirage, we are not done. When these storm hit the the mountains, they will add still more to the snow pack.

Last summer most predictions were for below average rainfall totals this year. We are in the midst of an La Nina system out in the Pacific and that means less rain for us and floods in Australia and Indonesia. But massive storm systems out the the Gulf of Alaska have been funneling down our way all winter and the result is La Nina has been trumped by the wet weather from the Great North.

Although this all sounds benign and good for everyone, there is the matter of the fuel for fires when it eventually dries out. Wet weather encourages the growth of underbrush and grasses that are the basic fuels for wild fires, so when we finally get the big dry out; the potential will be there for some big fires as well. 

All in all, strange weather this year. Environmental conspiracy theorists may now take over the conversation.
ADDENDUM: I wrote too soon, today it was announced that a warm spell in June could cause massive flooding from the 2X even 3X higher than average snow pack. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! And it appears the apocalypse is white and fluffy . . .


Special K said...

Note that the prediction for this current season was wrong. Can we trust those same scientists with predictions for the next 100 years? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Here in Arizona, severe drought continues, as do the severe forest fires that this provokes. There are tens of thousand acres both north and south of myself on fire, difficult to contain, and communities that have had to evacuate quite suddenly.

"Climate change" is a better term than "global warming". Scientific research projects DO show major changes in weather patterns.