I had plans to get a lot done in the garden this week. Yes, we expected rain on and off but, given our history, I thought it would be mostly off.
|While my backyard was relatively sunny on Friday, December 30th, the view in the distance suggested rain was imminent|
|However, there was little rain until the evening hours of New Year's Eve, when it pounded our roof|
On Tuesday, the forecasters gave us a 15% chance that a "weak system" would deliver a trivial amount of rain, forecast to amount to 0.03/inch. Even mid-morning, when we'd already accumulated a quarter inch of the wet stuff, they were predicting the showers would soon pause before an atmospheric river moved in on Wednesday.
|Yet we were socked in that morning|
|and remained that way throughout the daylight hours|
|The rain continued without a pause and, as evening fell, we couldn't see the lights of the harbor at all|
I can't even remember rain as steady as that we received yesterday. All my rain collection tanks have been full since the minor deluge we experienced on New Year's Eve. I'd already emptied the plastic trugs of the rainwater I'd collected from our rain chain onto soil in the driest areas of my garden but they quickly filled up again.
|As another, bigger storm is on its way collecting more rainwater without a place to store it seemed pointless|
I stopped collecting rain yesterday morning, which is a first for me since the drought was declared and I started actively storing rainwater. Watching all that extra water flow down the rain chain into a drain made me feel guilty. I hope it makes the people in charge of water policy in California feel guilty too. I keep hearing about desalination of sea water as a possible solution to the state's ever-worsening drought but building and operating the plants to do that is extremely expensive and the process itself presents ecological hazards. We've made some inroads in encouraging residents to conserve water (although I think there's a lot more to do there) but rainwater collection and water recycling on a city, community or water district level needs far more attention.
The steady rain continued into the evening hours. I even skipped my neighborhood walk for the first time in over two months. I got very little done in the garden beyond a little pruning here and there before Tuesday's rainstorm, although I finally dug up the 'Lavender Ruffles' Dahlia tuber that produced its last flower for Christmas.
|The size of the clump of tubers offers a clue as to why this particular dahlia was so prolific|
While I relish the rain we're getting, I don't want to ignore the fact that Northern California has already experienced significant negative impacts from the earlier rainstorms, resulting in widespread power outages and flooding. Flood watches and high wind warnings have already been called as the state turns to face the next storm beginning today, predicted to be the strongest of the season. According to the current assessment you can find here, it's also likely to have a much greater impact on Northern California than the southern part of the state.
|We certainly got more than the 0.03/inch forecast for Tuesday. How we'll be impacted by the next storm remains to be seen.|
All material © 2012-2023 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
My rain gauge didn't register over the New Year rains -it had some debris blocking the entry. I got it cleaned out on Monday so I'm up and running for the storm that is in progress now. It looks like a few more inches are in store! All my collection buckets are full too. Maybe we'll have a nice normal 25 to 35 inch season this year !ReplyDelete
Our rain gauge got stuck for awhile too, Kathy. As what was coming off the roof didn't jive with our gauge, my husband took advantage of a dry spell and discovered that debris from our Arbutus was the problem. When he cleared the blockage, we immediately picked up half an inch, which roughly checked against the nearest public station's count. We had nearly 24" of rain one year but it was an anomaly. Our "old normal" was 15". I'm not counting on getting there this water year but I'll be happy if we pass up last year's 8" total.Delete
If rain keeps me inside...it's a small price to pay. Was dreading a dry January like last year.ReplyDelete
That's a beautiful Dahlia clump.
Your garden looks as good in misty rain as it does on a sunny day.
It was raining steadily again this morning, and we're socked in again. I decided to walk 2 rounds of the neighborhood early in the day on the premise that the afternoon hours will be wetter still. We've just passed the 6" mark for the water year to date so hooray for that!Delete
I just read one of my go-to weather blogs and he reports that while we'll be wet, most the rain falling on the West Coast this week will be in California. Fingers crossed it's not destructive.ReplyDelete
The only loss I've discovered thus far was a pot that somehow plummeted from the top shelf of my lath house. The plant, a Hoya, is fine but the clay pot, a real beauty, was shattered to pieces. While we had strong wind gusts at one point, I'm suspecting a critter may be responsible rather than the storm. The soil is saturated but I'm counting on its generally sandy composition to prevent my succulents from turning to mush.Delete
California definitely needs more rainwater collection and water recycling. It's the most reasonable thing to do. Far better than the desalination option. At least you are doing your part.ReplyDelete
At times like this, I wish I had a spot for a really big cistern like some of those I saw in Austin, Texas year ago, Chavli. My tanks hold a total of 475 gallons of rainwater, which isn't nearly enough to carry us through our long dry season. I'm not sure how my neighbors would feel if I parked a 1000 gallon tank along the property line at the bottom of our slope and I've run out of spaces to hide another one under the house's roof gutters but maybe I could add another one behind the garage and fill it manually from what I collect off the house's rain chain...Delete
I know this is much needed, I just hope it doesn't cause many problems for you.ReplyDelete
I think it's Northern California that's more at risk than we are in Southern California, Phillip, although the foothill areas, and those that have burned in recent years are at risk of mudslides if the rain comes down too fast here. We had one "small" landslide here along the peninsula earlier in the season but that was related to slow and steady erosion, which is an ongoing problem in many of our beach areas.Delete
Gosh, the adage, "When it rains, it pours," seems to fit here. I'm glad you're getting some needed rain, but I hope it doesn't do too much damage. Afterward, many of your plants will be so happy.ReplyDelete
Ha! The adage that occurred to me, Beth, was: "Be careful what you wish for." But things aren't bad here, at least not yet. It's Northern California that's getting battered.Delete
Rain is one of those funny events: it's either too much or not enough. Hard to find that happy medium. There are tanks available now that are tall and narrow, a dark colour and designed to fit up against the house. They hold quite a bit of water. We can store just over 5000 gallons when all our tanks are full and it's truly discouraging how fast it gets used in the heat of the summer.ReplyDelete
I have to take another look at tanks, Elaine. The largest I have is a Bushman but it holds only 265 gallons and it's already as tall as will fit under the roof line of our one-story house. Adding 1 or 2 more of those behind the garage is a possibility, although it's the smallest roof surface so I'd usually be filling it manually from the overflow elsewhere. Taking out a large foundation shrub in an area at the front of the house (where a tank would still be hidden by other foliage) is another possibility, although it'd require installing an additional line of gutters, which probably wouldn't make my husband happy. We've already argued about the value of replacing my smallest tank at the back of the house with one that would only give us another 50 gallons of storage. The back and sides of the house have a lot of windows so opportunities are limited there.Delete
Fantastic you finally got a decent soak. Your garden - and you!- must be feeling refreshed.ReplyDelete
We just reached 7" of rain for the season to date, which isn't bad, assuming that prior reports of a long dry period from February through April don't hold up. (April is generally the end of our rainy season.) The folks in Northern California are getting slammed, though. Extreme winds are a big part of the issue there - we haven't had much of that in the southern part of the state.
Oh goodness, what a lot of rain. Doesn’t it lift your spirits! I hope it isn’t destructive, although I’ve seen reports of damage in some parts of California. I wonder if the drought stranglehold on your area will break now. I wish for good rain for you Kris, but steady and healing. Your garden must be loving it!ReplyDelete
I'm very pleased with the rain we've had here, Jane. Southern California has been relatively unscathed (although I understand there were some evacuations of residents in former burn areas). Northern California has experienced more severe impacts, though. The Los Angeles Times made a point of commented that the recent series of rainstorms isn't going to resolve our drought, however.Delete
An inch of rain in one day wouldn't be unusual here, but in southern California -- oh, my! When you see how quickly rain barrels and tanks fill in a good rain, it does make you wonder why this simple technology isn't in wider use. I hope you get all the benefits of good, soaking rain without any of the negative impacts.ReplyDelete
Perhaps I'm being cynical but I think there are a lot of Californians, political representatives included, that are still in denial about the impacts of climate change. Introducing water restrictions in 2015 and then lifting many of them again barely a year later after one year of decent rain, suggests that. The Los Angeles Times printed a story today emphasizing that the current streak of storms won't take us out of drought - the long-term impacts to our groundwater reserves won't be reversed in years, if not decades, for one thing - but people are already speculating. But maybe I'll enjoy a particularly colorful spring in 2023.Delete
I thought of you when I heard about California getting so much rain. It must be such a nice change to see all that luxurious wet stuff come down... I only hope you are spared mudslides and other dangerous side effects. Drought is like being dehydrated. When at first you get fluids, they pretty much can't be absorbed. Reaching that sweet spot of liquid equilibrium takes a while, but I hope you get there.ReplyDelete
SoCal is doing better than NorCal in that our rainfall has been much lighter and the winds not as violent, Anna. There's some flooding down this way (like the burn areas in Santa Barbara) but the flooding and power outages are much more widespread up north, where there have also been a few deaths related to flooding and tree falls. We just discovered a leak in our "new" roof, installed in September/October 2019 during our home renovation. There's always something...Delete
What a relief for your garden. It is pretty gnarly up north of you, however. Everything in moderation! ElizaReplyDelete
Except for some mudslides here and there, SoCal is doing well thus far. NorCal not so much.Delete
Lovely to see that line up of trugs filling up Kris 😀ReplyDelete
There's a lot more (475 gallons) in my tanks, Anna, but I can't stop myself from trying to collect more even when they're full.Delete
Wonderful to have more rain than you can use (and not TOO much either)ReplyDelete
Yes, as usual when heavy rains come to California, some areas flooded and there were mudslides in other areas, especially those that previously experienced wildfires. The only problem in my immediate area is soil erosion but that's been going on forever.Delete