Sunshine this early Wednesday on California’s north coast, and supposedly should be another awesome day, clear and dry — yesterday was near-spectacular, even warm late in the afternoon.
Some rain, or drizzle probably, forecast for tonight/tomorrow morning, but no real big shit until Saturday.
Last month, the region got historically drenched — numbers from Lost Coast Outpost yesterday: ‘The final measurement for October was 10.92 inches, still well short of Eureka’s all-time October high of 13.04 inches, set 66 years ago, but abnormally wet nonetheless. In fact it was 488 percent of the normal level for an October in Eureka (2.24 inches).’
A good kick-off for the season, and a slight respite from the gosh-awful drought…
(Illustration: ‘California Water Map,’ found here).
Writing of which, our region up here is healthy:
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the entirety of Humboldt County and Del Norte counties are no longer in a state of drought, nor even abnormally dry.
Siskiyou and northern Mendo are looking pretty good, too.
As of midnight last night the Lake Shasta reservoir was at 61 percent of capacity, which is three percent above average for this time of year.
Trinity Lake is at 42 percent of capacity, just 65 percent of the historic average for Oct. 31.
But that’s a marked improvement over this time last year, when the reservoir was only at 21 percent capacity and 32 percent of the historic average.
Accordingly, too, California can relax for a split-second or two — via KPCC: ‘“Celebrate and be happy about it. These last few years…I practically kiss each raindrop,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state Water Resources Control Board. The board will release Californians’ latest monthly water-use figures Tuesday under the state’s nearly three-year drought emergency.’
One thing, though — we hold the water.
Most of the state’s main reservoirs are located up here (see chart above), and with the rain from 2015/2016, and the healthy start this year, California is starting to loosen its water rules, or at least seemingly not paying attention.
Although it’s proclaimed the sixth-year of drought, this situation is not likely to change in our lifetimes, and most-likely, not in our children’s lifetimes, either.
However, perspective is location — yesterday, the state water board eased-up on some agricultural guidelines, as apparently we’re feeling more wet. The drought monitor late last month reported 81-percent of the state was in drought, compared with 97-percent a year earlier.
Lag in reality of water, as SoCal peoples act as if its raining all the time — from the Guardian yesterday:
They did not do so because California’s great grass purge seems to have faltered.
A punishing drought triggered mandatory water restrictions last year and seemingly turned lawns into an enemy of the state.
Thousands were ripped up.
Vigilantes “drought shamed” reprobates who maintained verdant lawns.
The ideal was brown lawns, or no lawns.
Southland Sod Farms, a big turf supplier, saw orders plunge from a high of 500 a day to just 80.
One customer requested a clandestine delivery to avoid shaming.
Critics called the company an environmental vandal.
A Facebook post compared it to the Nazis.
Now, however, Southland Sod Farms is delivering about a hundred lawns daily across Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego and is cautiously optimistic about the future.
“This panic to drive lawns out – that only went so far,” said owner Jurgen Gramckow. “Deep down inside people appreciate the recreational and aesthetic value of lawns.”
This year is on track to be the hottest ever recorded and California is enduring a fifth parched year, but anecdotal evidence suggests lawn lust, the California love that dare not speak its name, is indeed back.
Horrified landscapers and conservation activists have reported spotting new lawns around LA and San Diego.
“You see them going in. I always stop and stare and think, what are you doing, are you really that clueless?” said Marilee Kuhlmann, a landscape consultant and president of Urban Water Group.
“Some people are choosing to keep their lawns and just pay the [water] bill. I guess they want it bad enough,” said Andrew Ferguson, a landscaper with Terroir Malibu.
He recently spotted what appeared to be a new 20,000-sq-ft lawn in Malibu.
“It boggles my mind.”
Drought shaming, which ranged from aerial photos of celebrities’ lawns to people tweeting photos of neighbours’ sprinklers, has receded.
Tony Corcoran, who pedals around west LA documenting water profligacy in YouTube videos, thinks shamelessness is trumping shaming.
“I have only seen a small reduction in yards used for grass,” he said, “and in many cases I see so much foliage planted that it is not in any way reducing the water used.”
Despite reality — again: ‘There is no end in sight to chronic water shortage. One study has warned that the current drought, the most intense ever recorded, could become California’s “new normal.”‘
And bend over, and kiss both rain and your ass goodbye…