Friday, December 12, 2014

A Perspective On The California Storm

From someone who lives here.

In the wee morning hours, we watch local news and then switch to HLN to get their views on the world.

This storm hit California early yesterday causing havoc in the Bay Area. It wasn't the rain, but the wind came through first. Hard to get a plane off the ground in 40+ MPH winds. Then the rain came.

I got a couple emails from Howard (Windknots) concerned with our welfare. I assured him we were high and dry and would stay that way.  The creek below the house would have to rise 35' to get near the house. That just isn't going to happen.

So let me put a little perspective on what happens when we get a storm like this. They called it the storm of the century, storm of the decade, worst storm in years, depending on what channel (both TV and radio) you listen to.

Here's the real story. The Valley got wind, a lot of wind and it took down some trees. Some of those hit houses and cars. Sacramento is second only to Paris, France for the number of trees in a city. You get high winds and trees and tree branches are going to fall. You can't catch them all before it happens. Up here, we have trees falling all the time. Fortunately most of them are up the hill behind the house.   

There was flooding down in the valley (Sacramento). Flooding comes from a couple different directions. One, the storm drains are clogged and the water in the streets can't drain. I've seen this from personal experience. I lived in South Sac back aways and watch the street in front of the house fill with water and then start filling the surrounding streets.

I heard something about the city pumping rain water somewhere with a pump that can move 7 million gallons of water a day. If overwhelmed (seems impossible, but could happen) than flooding.

Then we have all those little drainage creeks in Sacramento and the surrounding area. When we get heavy rain, they fill up and sometimes flood. Example: This morning local TV showed Arcade Creek running over Winding Way. We get a good storm and Arcade Creek ALWAYS floods. The same happens with Deer Creek out by where I used to live. A good rain storm and it ALWAYS floods. Nothing unusual for a good rain storm.

If you watch national weather it looks like we're floating away, but it's not as bad as they make it out to be.  You get some puddling on the freeway and those going 75 mph lose control from hydroplaning. A lot of times they lose control at 75 mph when it's dry. Don't speed in the rain. They don't listen.

Now, it's snowing up the hill. The weather guessers said the snow level was going to be 5000'. That's just before Cooks Station and about 15 miles up the road. This morning chain controls on Highway 88 were at Dew Drop. Dew Drop is a Cal Fire Station and maybe 5 miles from La Casa Kautz. I looked outside and the temperature was 36 which is right where it needs to be to snow here. We still have rain (for now). But, the snow up the hill is falling in feet rather than inches. This is good.

Correction, it snowed here at the house. I went out to start the wife's car and there was just enough to put a little slush on the porch, but that moved the snow level to  3200'. 

The pond has water running out the drain which is something I haven't seen since early this year. This is good too because it helps replenish the aquifer so we have water in our well.

It's rained and rained hard since yesterday morning. We started about 9:00 am and has rained since. It's got to be good for the reservoirs.

Southern California, that's another story. Lots of wildfires make for lots of open space with nothing to hold the ground. People living in the hills near the burn areas are going to get mudslides. The Forest Service does all they can, they can only do so much.

So when you watch the news and see all the sensationalized weather, figure about half of what they say is what is really happening.     


  1. I'm rooting for more snow, so hope you're stocked up! It's been chaos down in the lowlands and on the coast. Lakes where there should be any, commutes almost doubled because of slow going and flooding. And here I am hoping we get five or more storms just like this one. Stay dry!

  2. Mark, it is good to hear the perspective of someone who is on the ground. I was wondering about this just yesterday and thought it couldn't be all that bad as much as you have needed the moisture. Glad you are finally getting the rain (and snow) and hope it leads to great fishing for you next year!

  3. Really, really good, Mark, that you wrote this post and kept us all informed on how you and others are doing. First hand perspective is always more meaningful than the guy/or/gal who is embellishing the post to improve tv rankings. Anyway, stay safe, and who knows, you folks may have plenty of water for next year.

  4. Mark,
    With the strong wind my horse trailer got shifted. The wind was that strong. I heard that it was 158 mph in the high Sierra.
    Well, the pickup truck of previous owner of my house was turned over several years ago with another winter storm hit here. Very exciting.