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Waiting for the rain…

Windmills, Patterson Pass

A “significant rain event” has been predicted for the Bay Area for later today. Just about now, ANY rain that hits the ground would be significant! :-) Virga is only “pretty.” Even THIS old nose, after years of exposure to organic solvents and hydrogen sulfide, can smell the moisture in the air.

I have written before that California is still “very much about water,” and perhaps always will be. I have also written that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a drought for California this year (actually “last rain year;” a new “rain year” started on October 1, 2008). We have had 2 years of drought. One East Bay water district has successfully reduced water usage by over 11%, “close but no cigar” to the goal of over 13%. People are being asked to conserve water, even to the point of taking shorter showers. (Yes, I’ve told my son. :-) ) In my neighborhood, we still have some folks who use water to clean off their driveways :-( and others who water their lawns during the heat of the day. One of these, who is better about watering, has purchased 3 cords of firewood to pollute the trapped air of the “Tri-Valley” all winter long. Fortunately, we get occasional rain to clear the air in winter, and give such folks a clean start on their “fresh-air fouling.”

Homo sapiens was named by either an egotist or an optimist, perhaps both! :-)

Two of my favorite weather radars are that of the National Weather Service, and the Doppler radar of the TV station, KCBS5. Right now, both show rain on its way to the Bay Area.

I have almost always loved rain. I have especially loved thunderstorms, and I miss them a lot in my part of California. I definitely do NOT like “dry lightning” very much anymore, since it starts wildfires (even though wildfires are necessary).

I say that I have “almost” always loved rain, because rain can be a “mixed blessing.” (You folks in areas that are prone to flooding understand that.) One of my companies once “stationed” me in the Seattle, WA area during October, which can be rainy in Washington state, and is a marvelous, sunny “beach month” in the Bay Area. That particular October, it rained almost every day in the Seattle area, including a record 24-hour period with 5 inches of rain. No, this was not a Mid-Western-style “gully-washer” in which 3 inches can fall in a couple of hours. This was a day-long drizzle. :-(

Fortunately, that company flew me back to the Bay Area every weekend, where I took advantage of the sunshine and beautiful weather, and made several trips to the beach.

Another “downside” to rain in California are the effects of the first rainfall of the year on traffic. (BTW, Bay Area traffic has been “better” lately, a reflection of tough economic times.) The effects are very similar to the those of the first snowfalls on traffic in the Mid-West and the East! :-) Since we have two seasons (wet and dry), all of the oil and other automotive fluids that have dripped onto roadways all dry season are just waiting there :-) for the first rainfall to lift them to the surface and make the roads the slickest that they will be all year! After a few rains, drivers become accustomed to driving on wet/oily pavement, some of the oil has washed off the road, and some of the drivers are no longer driving because their vehicles are in the shop after collisions! :-)

We are supposed to have 1/4 to 1 inch of rain late today and overnight into Saturday, and I, for one, can’t wait! But I think that I will keep my truck, and definitely my motorcycle (which needs friction even more!), safely parked as much as possible, until the road surface dries…. :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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