Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain, Rain...

They said this was going to be a helluva storm, and it is.  It's raining like the lead-in to that business with Noah and the Ark, only not for so long. Yet. 

I remember Bill Cosby's old routine about Noah and the Ark:  "Noah," said God in an ominous voice, "How long can you tread water?"

We haven't seen a storm like this in years.  Oakland usually gets around 23 inches of rain in a year.  I checked the Oakland North rain station (which is conveniently online) for the damages, and since 03:00 this morning we've gone from .38" of rain (which I think was the year to date since January) to 3.53" of rain.  That's 15% of our annual average, in less than 12 hours, and it's clearly prepared to go on doing this for some little time yet.

I'm wrong.  Oakland North just posted the results for 13:00 - 4.22" of rain, or 19% of the annual average.  Are we really getting half an inch an hour?

Fortunately, due to the previous drought, the ground was as dry as a Sahara dune, so all the water will (probably) soak right in and not even cause any hillsides to slide downward, taking houses with them.  This time.

I don't know who's right or wrong about "global warming," although it seems reasonable to me that there should be some consequences to all the heat-trapping gases we've been belching into the atmosphere for the last 2 centuries.  I read recently that the hottest year on record was 1998, and the more recent temperature changes are actually due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and not to us at all.  I think what we're seeing here isn't necessarily warmer or cooler, but wider extremes.  The storms will be more frequent and stronger, the droughts will last longer before the rain comes; the rain when it comes will be heavier.

Welcome to the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. hedera:

    We won't live long enough to see the dramatic changes wrought by global warming.

    We'll be long gone. That's the easy part.

    The difficult part is trying to invent a way to live extravagantly while cutting back on everything which our way of life has enjoyed, thanks to over-exploitation and dirty energy usage.

    We should know better. And we do. But how do you get Union Carbide to toe the line? No one seems to have an answer.

    I drove from Ashland, Oregon, to the Bay Area on Tuesday between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM. It rained nearly the whole way, even along those lonely stretches between Weed and Redding and Chico and Corning, where it's almost like desert (dry grass and scrub--where it doesn't rain more than 18" in a year, on average). My guess is that they must have gotten something like 6-7 inches in some places, judging by the deluge we experienced. It got so bad, the visibility on the highway was no more than three car-lengths.