Thick, darkly-gray outside this way-too-early Friday on California’s north coast — most-likely low clouds submerged with ground fog (if there’s such a circumstance) to create a moist, vaporous and uncomfortable-looking morning.
We were forecast for some pretty-decent rain the middle of this week, but it failed to materialize, beyond the spattering on Monday, and the thunderstorms supposedly for yesterday, churning from the east, also failed to become fact — at least for my little patch, yesterday was mostly sunshine without a storm cloud in sight.
Odd location of climate and weather in contrast to an environment — we’ve hardly no rain up here, while yesterday and today, Southern California gets drenched (via The Weather Channel): ‘However, L.A. may pick up four times their average May rainfall in just one or two days through late Friday.’
(Illustration: Detail of M.C. Escher’s ‘Relativity,‘ found here).
Thursday, though, was a gusher (per NBC LA): ‘Rainfall records for this date were set at downtown Los Angeles (.16 of an inch, breaking the previous record of .03 set in 1902) and Los Angeles International Airport (.17, breaking the previous record of .06 set in 1962).‘
And more today.
Although some heavy precipitation going on there, all that rain still won’t make much of a dent in California’s statewide drought, most of the water disappearing into shallow reservoirs, and into history. One hope beyond local weather is the El Niño supposedly building steam in the Pacific Ocean, and according to reports, a “super” version could be heading our way (I posted about it on Wednesday). which in normal conditions, would mean more rain for us next winter.
Yet, if wishes were horses, we’d all be riding — yesterday from the San Jose Mercury News:
Generally speaking, El Niños begin when trade winds that normally blow westward, toward Asia, weaken, and then blow the other way.
That allows warm Pacific Ocean water near the equator to spread east, toward South America.
Rainfall follows the warm water, which can mean wet winters for California, Peru and other areas, and droughts for Australia.
In March, NOAA scientists using satellites, buoys and other devices to measure ocean temperatures declared that El Niño conditions were present.
Since then, ocean surface temperatures have continued to warm and are now about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 1981-2010 average along the equator near South America.
That’s twice as much above the average as last year.
Meanwhile, trade winds blowing east toward North America are present, a key component for sustaining El Niño conditions, NOAA says.
They weren’t present last year, which is why the whole trend fizzled.
“The drought isn’t over until our reservoirs are full,” said Abby Figueroa, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
“That might take more than one wet winter.”
And a lot of science guys remain skeptical about the “super El Niño.”
Such a view from Smithsonian magazine, also on Thursday:
But with El Niño’s May arrival, it is too late to help California.
The drought is expected to persist or worsen over the next few months, and even a strong El Niño would have no effect unless it lasted through the upcoming winter.
Should conditions in the Pacific continue or even strengthen, El Niño could bring the rains next winter that would offer some relief to parched Californians.