Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Cause for Celebration (and a Wednesday Vignette)

If you've read my blog for a while, you probably know that I have something of an obsession with water and, more specifically, rain, which we've had precious little of for the last 5 years.  According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Los Angeles had average precipitation of just under 15 inches per year from 1981 through 2010.  Last year, my personal weather station recorded a total of 5.65 inches of rain for the season beginning October 1, 2015 and ending September 30, 2016.  And last year was an El Niño year, which was expected to bring higher than average rainfall.  As it turned out, that rainfall shifted northward, benefiting Northern California more than Southern California.  Many pundits believe this will be a La Niña year, bringing us below "normal" rain.  As last year's forecasts were off, at least as they related to SoCal, I'm hoping for the best but also trying to keep my expectations in check.

That "wait and see" attitude governed my outlook on the forecasts predicting a 40% chance of light rain last weekend.  According to one weather agency, the rain expected for my area was on the order of 2 one-hundredths of an inch, which was certainly nothing to get excited about.  However, I watched the clouds closely.  Saturday, the promise of rain hovered above us, literally.

Clouds over the Los Angeles Harbor Saturday afternoon

Clouds at sunset


Saturday night we got all of one one-hundredth of an inch of rain.  Sunday's clouds looked promising at first but less so by the end of the day.

Clouds early Sunday morning

By sunset, the clouds in the immediate area had dissipated, leaving this formation, which looked a little like an alien spacecraft and which I offer as my Wednesday Vignette (visit Anna at Flutter & Hum for more photographic vignettes)


But, wonder of wonders, we got almost 3 tenths of an inch of rain early Monday morning.  I slept through most of it but woke to a glistening backyard.

Unfortunately, my photo doesn't quite capture the magical sparkle the rain added to the garden

Rainwater droplets on foliage are somehow far more beautiful than the water droplets left behind by an automated irrigation system


Now, I admit that 0.31 inches of rain, the current total through today, isn't a lot but even a small amount of rain on a roof sheds a considerable amount of water.  My previously empty rain barrels aren't empty any more.  The 50-gallon tank is full; the 160-gallon tank is half-full; and the 265-gallon tank is at least one-quarter full.

You can make out the water line on the 160-gallon tank here (along with the algae I failed to clean up when the tank was empty)


Now that's a cause for celebration!  There was another 40% chance of rain in the forecast for a week from Thursday but it's already disappeared; however, hope springs eternal.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. Oh Kris, why can't we share!? We've just experienced the wettest start to October EVER...in the first 17 days of the month we've received 5.76". I am so done with the rainy season but it's just begun...

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    1. Mother Nature is really mean sometimes!

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  2. Hooray for rain! What a great surprise to wake up to. Like Loree said - I wish we could share our abundance too.

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    1. I wish you could share your bounty too! At least Northern California shares (sort of).

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  3. So glad you got some real rain sparkles, Kris :) (And I'm glad someone else notices that difference between rain and irrigation droplets!) Your water harvest is impressive!

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    1. Even though I'm aware of the formula for calculating the number of gallons of rain that can be collected from a roof, the actual product always impresses me too!

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  4. Hooray for you! I'm quite surprised at how much rain you've collected in your tanks. That's very cool and this helps me to make more sense of why we (especially in areas with more rain) need more permeable surfaces to prevent the run-off deluge in urban and suburban areas.

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    1. People underestimate what comes off of roofs in a rainstorm. For the record, the official calculation is the square feet of the roof X the number of inches of rain x 0.623 (the quantity of water in gallons in one inch of water in an area of 1 square foot). By that calculation I got robbed a bit but that's because I don't have barrels to support all our roof surfaces.

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  5. I was just as shocked as you waking up to wet pavement. And since the rain was mostly unanticipated, I was hoping the heat forecast would be off too -- no such luck. Wow, what a scorcher today is!

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    1. It wasn't quite as bad here as it was predicted to be downtown but it was warm. Tomorrow is supposed to be worse - we may have to turn on the AC. Stay cool, Denise!

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  6. I'm happy you finally got some rain, and enough to partly replenish your rain barrels. It's pretty amazing how much they collected from just 0.31 inches of rain.

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    1. If only I had rain barrels to cover all the surface area of our house and garage roofs, Evan! Rain barrels aren't all that attractive and I haven't seen fit to add collection points in all areas (for example, in the areas at the front of the house). When I'm conscious and present during a rainstorm, I usually run around like a madwoman collecting the water that comes down our rain chain and even the structure covering our firewood in plastic trugs.

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  7. Wow you got a lot! Awesome! Riches!

    One 33 gallon trash can filled from the spiffy diverter installed last spring, and about 20 gallons more in a tub from the scuppers. The plants got it all right away--they are so thirsty.

    That space-ship cloud is way cool.

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    1. When I first noticed the spaceship cloud it was gray and sinister-looking but, by the time I finally got around to going outside with my camera, it'd turned pink - note to future alien invaders: pink spaceships aren't as intimidating.

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  8. I'm reading "I Will Send Rain" by Rae Meadows about DustBowl Oklahoma and watching the sky, like you are, is a constant. Even our dry summer doesn't come close to what you've had to deal with. If not for the advent of water harvesting and aqueduct diversion, civilization wouldn't exist. Hail the hydrologist!

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    1. I haven't seen as much press on homeowner water collection as I'd have expected 6 years into our drought. At least the state of California acted to legalize rainwater capture in 2012.

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  9. Hooray for rain for you! Fingers crossed that you have a nice wet winter this year!

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  10. Replies
    1. Mother Nature likes to yank our chain by sending confusing signals.

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  11. is a lenticular cloud. I see photos of them taken in Cape Town, but I've only once actually seen them.

    I remember in Porterville with some good rain how you could almost watch in real time as the rain tank filled to overflowing!

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    1. Thanks for the spaceship cloud ID, Diana. I looked up other examples on-line - mine was tame compared to many of those!

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