Drought Busting

May 26, 2015

d7dfe440-98af-11e3-a20a-4197883a2af2_calif-terra-nasa-2014Clouds by any other name is ground fog this early Tuesday on California’s north coast, creating a gloomy-gus gray at first light and supposedly, our mundane weather routine continues today with maybe some decent rain inbound for next week.

Not dull, though, a 4.3 earthquake just after 3 this morning, located about 40 miles west-southwest of me — I was awake then listening to NPR, but not out of bed, yet still didn’t feel a thing.

(Illustration: NASA satellite image of California’s drought, late January-early February 2014, found here).

Beyond the shaking, weather is anything but mundane in the US Southwest, where all kinds of shit has hit nature’s fan — an “atypical” tornado in the northern Mexico border town of Acuña (across from Del Rio, Texas), and which ‘lasted just six seconds‘ killed 13 people, damaged 750 houses (60-70 destroyed) and otherwise did some shit damage.
Meanwhile, from Texas to Oklahoma onward, heavy rains and all the associate elements.
From NBC News this morning:

Flash-flood watches and warnings were issued across seven states early Tuesday as an unprecedented downpour of torrential rain triggered “extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening” conditions in Houston.
More than 30 million Americans were told to brace for dangerous thunderstorms — including flooding, hail and possible tornadoes — as meteorologists warned the weather that has centered on Texas and Oklahoma since Saturday could expand to other areas.
At least 12 people were still missing, eight people have been killed, and countless more evacuated amid the deluge that has inundated Texas and Oklahoma with record-breaking floods since Saturday.

All this wet has a good side, though, according to Victor Murphy, climate services program manager for the National Weather Service’s Southern Region: ‘“I think the Texas drought is pretty much all but over.”
Good news in that respect for those folks.

Meanwhile again, out here in California, we’re still gripped by the dry. In Humboldt County, we’re classified in the Severe Drought classification (D2-D4) by the U.S. Drought Monitor, as is 94 percent of California.
A lot of interest is in the supposedly “super El Niño” building, or doing something out in the Pacific Ocean, and could bring some heavy rains to the state this coming winter, maybe enough to really knock back the drought, like in Texas.
But could be a pipe-dream easily ruptured.
From Sunday’s LA Times:

The nonstop Texas-Oklahoma rains are probably being influenced by a building El Niño in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, whose warm waters tend to bring rain to the southern U.S., said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
If a full-blown El Niño develops, that could mean rain for Southern California next winter, and it could mean trouble too, he said.
“The headlines that you’re writing today about Texas and Oklahoma, you could be writing about California in January,” Patzert said.
“There’s something to remember about El Niño — he’s a good boy and he’s a bad boy because he can deliver drought relief that’s much-needed.
“But all that water coming so fast is like trying to catch water out of a fire hose with a champagne glass.”
He also cautioned Californians against putting too much hope in El Niño to end the state’s drought.
“Everybody is thinking of El Niño as the great wet hope, as the great drought buster,” he said.
“The building El Niño is having some impact on the heavy weather we’re seeing in Oklahoma and Texas, but we’re a long way from seeing the equivalent rains in California next winter.”

There’s the summer ahead, dry and tinder, before any sign of rain in the skies.
We can hope, though. If not, this could be in the near future — via KTLA:

As a fourth year of drought continues to drain aquifers and reservoirs, California water managers and environmentalists are urging adoption of a polarizing water recycling policy known as direct potable reuse.
Unlike nonpotable reuse — in which treated sewage is used to irrigate crops, parks or golf courses — direct potable reuse takes treated sewage effluent and purifies it so it can be used as drinking water.

Beyond the ‘yuck factor’…..

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