Friday, January 15, 2010
Looks Like We're in for It
This image is predicting 12-14 inches of rain in the next 16 days. The last time we had rain totals like this, the river was lapping at my front door at my Old Coast Wagon Road house.
I just caught word that a severe, El Nino-style wet weather period is setting up, the likes of which haven't been seen here since at least 1996-97 New Year. In fact, the way they talk about it on Weather West, Weather and Climate Discussions for California and the Western US, it sounds like it at least has the potential to create heavy rainfall for several weeks in a row, and even the potential for widespread, dangerous flooding.
The prediction of possible rain-on-snow events is reminding me of 1964, the year in which gigantic flooding unraveled our county. We are still dealing with some of the effects of this one flood event. Our creeks and rivers have the general shape they have now due to extremely high flows, which haven't been seen since. Visitors to the Eel River area have maybe seen signs stating "High Water 1964" at certain locations of Hwy 101. It's difficult to even fathom the Eel being so deep, and easy to imagine the devastation from such a flow. For those who have never seen them, the markers are usually about 8-10 feet above the roadway, which in places is maybe 30-40 feet above the average winter flow level of the river. Really.
We are preparing to leave our little valley for our annual winter walkabout, though if things unfold how they're predicted, it's possible we won't even be able to leave the valley. Sometimes, in large storm events, both exits from the valley close. It's particularly interesting to consider these effects given our 6.5 earthquake last week. Hmmm. We may not be going anywhere.
So, get outside and enjoy the non-rainy skies for another day or so, batten down any unsecured hatches, move the firewood pile indoors, do your road work, check your culverts, mulch your bare land, put away your tools, and say a little prayer that all turns out well. May it be amazing, and safe for all.