Yes, folks, right here in San Jose, California, in the midst of a protracted drought, it rained. In September.
Real rain too, not that “did I just feel a drop?” kind of rain, but puddle-forming, windshield-wiping, garden-refreshing rain. I lingered in bed this morning with the doors flung open and took in the mesmerizing sounds and smells. Then I got dressed and went outside.
Good thing, too, since the sun was out by 10 but I enjoyed the refreshing drops while they lasted.
This is a tremendous gift to the firefighters battling the King Fire in Northern California. We are not in harm’s way, but others are. Many of the state’s late-summer fires are the result of lightning. Sadly this one was arson. Fortunately they’ve made an arrest, but the fire has raged out of control for two weeks.
The good news today is that the fire is 43% contained, but the damage is unbelievable. 95,000 acres burned and a dozen homes lost. Their are over 8,000 fire personnel from across the country battling the flames.
Today I celebrate rain in my little corner of the world, as well as the potential relief for crews on the fire lines and displaced residents in our parched state.
Let it rain, let it rain!
Here’s the latest from the Weather Channel:
Western drought status as of Sept. 16, 2014. Darker shading indicates progressively worse drought status. (NOAA/USDA/NDMC)
Yes, runoff triggered by soaking rain from this September storm in far northwest California will raise a tad.
However, the key to drought relief in California is not rain, but snow.
Critical to water supply in this part of the country is the buildup of winter snow pack in the mountains, whose melt water in the spring replenishes reservoirs.
Snow melt provides up to 75 percent of the West’s freshwater supply. The Sierra and, to a lesser degree, Colorado River snow melt, is crucial for California.
In short, California and the West needs a persistently wet winter, with a combination of significant rain and mountain snow to replenish groundwater and reservoir levels.