Dry December Update

“Rain, rain, rain, rain,
Why’d you cause me so much pain?”
—”The Rains Came,” Sir Douglas Quintet

Southern California got a little spritz of rain over the weekend—nearly a fifth of an inch yesterday in the desert town of Blythe. Here, it’s dry, and the California-Nevada River Forecast Center sees only a small chance that rain will fall over the northern part of the state in the next week (and that will be far north of the Bay Area). Our local National Weather Service forecast office, in Monterey, reads the models the same way: “Dry and mild weather will continue through at least the next 7 days … with little variation in the upper level weather pattern. A series of storm systems will move towards the region over the next week … but pass to the north and east of the area. ” The longer-range outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is for drier and warmer than median weather.

Here’s the local NWS table on precipitation so far this year. And below that, today’s theme song

Station July 1-Dec. 18, 2011 % of Normal July 1-Dec. 18, 2010 % of Normal July 1-Dec. 18 Normal July 1-June 30 Normal
SFO Int’l Airport 2.87 50 5.76 101 5.69 20.11
Oakland Airport 3.06 52 6.66 113 5.91 17.42
Mountain View Airport 1.73 45 3.24 85 3.83 13.35
San Jose Airport 1.53 39 3.05 77 3.95 15.08
Santa Rosa Airport 4.45 42 13.19 123 10.70 31.91
Salinas Airport 3.31 103 3.45 107 3.21 12.91
San Francisco Downtown 3.35 47 7.88 111 7.08 22.28

Berkeley Journal: December Morning


More than a day of a sort of strange, dripping-down rain. It reminded me of a long-ago hitch-hiking trip down the coast side of the Olympic Peninsula in the middle of winter, but warmer, and with no rain forest. Kate drove off to work in the fog. I went outside to snap a couple of pictures and ran into a couple of neighbors. All of us had some variation on the same thing to say: “What a beautiful morning.” Gray. Foggy. Drippy. And yes, beautiful.



Remembering Christmas, a poet said: “December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers.” The snow was like a living thing: “It came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss. …”

That was Wales. And this is California. December on the weather side of the East Bay hills may produce the odd sunny day. I’m not complaining that we don’t have more. But mostly, it’s gray, as gray as the sopping thick felted clouds stretching overhead from the hills a mile to the east all the way past Hawaii to the tropics. No sunset, no moonrise, no stars. Just the same blanket of heavy, sodden gray pressing down day after day.

At least it’s warm.

(Pictured above: Codornices Creek, where it exits the city storm drains for the Bay, during a heavy rain on Thursday; most of the year, the channel is just a trickle. Beyond the reclaimed soccer field on the right is a big new Target store, and beyond that is the interchange for Interstates 80 and 580.)