Hanging our Hat on El Niño

tree reflecting in rain on deck
We had a string of storms last week, a welcome relief for our drought-parched state. The heavier-than-normal rain is due to the temporary change in water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator, simply known as El Niño.

While most of California welcomes the much-anticipated rain, other parts of the world are experiencing drought, above-average temperatures, and heavy flooding. I’m amazed that the increase in ocean temperatures by just a few degrees affects the entire globe. So while I celebrate this wonderful rain, I wish it didn’t come at such a cost.

I drove over the hill this week to the nearby mountain town of Felton. It’s a 45 minute drive on a winding road. The drive is pretty but sometimes treacherous as you make your way through the winding Santa Cruz mountains. I’m a nervous driver to begin with, so I drove slowly in the rain and fog, hugging the right lane all the way there. When I returned about an hour later, a large tree had fallen across three of the four lanes of highway. Traffic on my return journey moved at a crawl, while the opposing traffic was at a dead stop for miles/kilometers. Amazingly no one was hurt but I had a hard time shaking off the fact that I had driven past that same tree about an hour before.

By the time I exited the freeway,  I’d passed the aftermath of two auto accidents, multiple emergency vehicles and the fallen tree. I was so happy to get home.

El Niño conditions will persist through at least March of this year.  While I celebrate the arrival of the much-needed rain, I’m also tempering my enthusiasm with a healthy dose of caution.

What’s your weather up to?

Related:

How will we know when the drought is over? It’s complicated.

Severe El Nino puts the world in “uncharted territory.”

San Jose Weather Forecast

Fallen tree blocks traffic for five hours.