Hey, Rainmaker

A dry summer, and then comes the fall
Which I depend on most of all.
Hey rainmaker can you hear the call?
Please let these crops grow tall.

—The Band, “King Harvest”

We had some rain overnight–just enough to keep the dust down, if there had been any dust (we did have plenty of crap in the air, though: a miasma of car exhaust, smoke, and other metropolitan exhalations that led the regional air district to ban wood fires for four days in a row). The “storm” total in San Francisco for the rain that started falling last night is .04 of an inch–four-hundredths–and according to the National Weather Service is the first rain since we got .21 of an inch on Thanksgiving.

Meantime, continuing my claim to be the first in my neighborhood to express precipitation anxiety this year, the state Department of Water Resources and its California Data Exchange Center are out with their latest summary of hydrologic conditions for the state. Here’s my summary of their summary: November 2010 was wet, November 2011 was dry. Or in the summary’s own machete-proof prose:

On November 30, the Northern Sierra 8-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 6.5 inches, which is about 70 percent of the seasonal average to date and 13 percent of an average water year (50.0 inches). During November, the total precipitation for the 8-Stations was 2.6 inches, which is about 41 percent of the monthly average. Last year on November 30, the seasonal total for the 8-Stations was 15.5 inches, or about 167 percent of average for the date. On November 30, the San Joaquin 5-Station Precipitation Index Water Year total was 4.0 inches, which is about 59 percent of the seasonal average to date and 10 percent of an average water year (40.8 inches). During November, the total precipitation for the 5-Stations was 1.5 inches, or about 32 percent of the monthly average. Last year on November 30, the seasonal total for the 5-Stations to date was 14.4 inches, or about 212 percent of average for the date.

Of course, one or two good drenchings will make all this early-season anxiousness go away.

Related:
It’s December. Do You Know Where Your Rain Is?
KQED: California Reservoir Watch

3 Comments

Filed under Berkeley, Current Affairs, Weather

3 Responses to Hey, Rainmaker

  1. You might soon begin noting precipitation anxiety out of the Northwest. We beat our 30-year normal this November with 6.57 (vs. 5.63), but so far in December have seen just .01 inches. You read that correctly: .01. As much as I’m not a fan of our usual mid-40s and off and on light rain day after day, I’d take it over what we’ve had this month. The inversion has been strong; many days, just wall to wall gray, dawn to dusk, the temperature sometimes failing to make it out of the 30s. Then for overnight lows we’ve been below freezing 9 out of 11 nights (and the other two nights the lows were 33 and 34, respectively), which, again, is quite unusual for us. Apparently we are headed toward our coolest year since 1985: http://fox12weather.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/coldest-year-since-1985-so-far/

  2. Dan

    That wall-to-wall gray, which I think of as typical of winter in the Central Valley, is the worst. Anything’s better than that.Bitter cold (which usually brings bright, sunny weather), snow, rain. OK–freezing rain would be worse.

  3. jb

    Tangentially related…I was just listening to Music From Big Pink. That is a great record. It hangs together quite well, 40+ years on. King Harvest is from the their second record, which is also a gem. We have been getting plenty of precip here in Gotham. It has finally gone to winter as well.

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