A Stormy Start to 2023

SoCal didn’t receive as much rain as they did up north, but we still had an impressive amount of sky water during our recent storm.

Northern California saw a historic nearly six inches of rain while we had two inches over the weekend with more forecasted this week. That’s a LOT in a short period of time, due to a phenomenon called an atmospheric river.

An atmospheric river is a narrow corridor or filament of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere. Other names for this phenomenon are tropical plume, tropical connection, moisture plume, water vapor surge, and cloud band. Wikipedia

During a brief dry period, we checked out the big windy waves. Fresh air feels so purifying and cleansing. A walk on the beach is a great way to start a new year!

Sand, sun, clouds, waves, even some blue sky.

And just like that, it began to rain again.

Check out this video…it was super windy, too!

Dragonfly To My Heart

I’m not sure why, because there’s not any water in my pond right now, but the garden was full of little dragonflies today, which made me extraordinarily happy.

The temps are up again, nearly ninety degrees, so hot it dried the sheets on the line in about half an hour, but the humidity is low with these Santa Ana winds. It’s way more pleasant than the heat/humidity wave we experienced a few weeks ago, and the nights are blissfully cool.

“I heard the wind whisper and the earth sigh, it made my soul smile as I walked by.”
Michelle Schaper

Before the Rain | After: Petrichor

This is what it looked like before a brief thunderstorm delighted all of us in SoCal.

It sounded as if someone was throwing around trash cans on the side of the house so I went out to look, and realized it was thunder! That’s an example of how novel an experience a thunder and lightening storm is for us.

We haven’t had rain in such a long time and it smells fresh right now, exactly the definition of the word petrichor.

Petrichor is the term coined in 1964 by Australian scientists to describe the unique, earthy smell associated with rain. It’s said to be caused by the water from rain, along with certain compounds like ozone, geosmin, and plant oils.
(https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/students/highschool/chemistryclubs/infographics/petrichor-the-smell-of-rain.pdf)

It looks like a bit more rain might visit us in the next few days. We’re excited to fill up our rain barrels and receive the bounty of Mother Nature.

Mother Nature Requires Our Attention

If tonight’s Harvest Moon along with Mercury Retrograde isn’t enough energy, here in SoCal, the outer bands of Hurricane Kay — now Tropical Storm Kay — woke me up with high winds and spotty rain, just an amuse-bouche of what’s to come tonight and tomorrow.

My windchimes are going crazy. I think I better take them down before the fifty mile an hour winds cause them to crash and break.

It’s still really HOT; the high temp for today will be right around ninety degrees, but next week’s forecast looks to be back to normal and cooler.

There have been several small fires in the area, but the larger one, the Fairview Fire, located northeast in Hemet has burned more than 27,000 acres moving toward Temecula. Lots of people and animals have been evacuated.

As of 9:00 a.m. here’s a CalFire update:

#ForkFire 780 acres, 20 % contained
#RadfordFire 1,088 acres, 59% contained
#BarnesFire 2,943 acres, 0% contained
#MillFire 3,935 acres, 80% contained
#MountainFire 11,690 acres, 55% contained
#MosquitoFire 14,250 acres, 0% contained
#FairviewFire 27,463 acres, 5% contained

Emergency officials warn us that this incoming storm could cause dangerous flooding and countywide damage.

I’m paying attention to Mother Nature for sure, I feel like I should contribute some kind of offering to her to show respect for her power.

She’s NOT playing around, a bit different than the gentle and nurturing mother Emily Dickinson wrote about:

Mother Nature

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, —
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, —
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

Waiting For The Sky to Fall

It’s HOT.

6:30 a.m. and already 85 degrees. There are some monsoonal clouds drifting by and a bit of wind, but no rain.

I don’t think the temp has ever been this high this early, not that I can remember, anyway.

We are in an extended high heat warning. It was nearly one hundred degrees yesterday. Scorching, brutally hot.

It’s not often that we have humidity but that’s what made it all so unpleasant. Several records were broken. Climate change, anyone?

It was too hot to go outside. Because of the fires around here, air quality was poor.

And then critters started invading the house.

I heard the raucous chirping of a cricket and located the sound coming from the dining room.

Then, the family room was invaded by dozens of diminutive flying insects that seemed to have materialized out of nowhere.

A lizard clung to the patio screen door. I told him it wasn’t any cooler inside–there’s no air conditioning and he’d fare better by hiding in the shade of a rock.

I filled a bowl with water for my bobcat and coyote family.

I’m now waiting for the locusts.

The Sky Above

According to the weather report, showers are likely, mainly after 11pm. Today will be mostly cloudy with a 60% chance of precipitation. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch are possible.

That doesn’t sound like very much rain but it will be welcomed in this very dry March.

I looked up to see a sky full of clouds that look like something my grandma would have crocheted, a dresser scarf or table doily, two things nobody really decorates with anymore. I have layers of them in the cedar chest, nestled between sheets of perfumed tissue paper.

H-O-T

It’s hot and windy and very dry. I hear sirens and hope there isn’t a fire, but it’s fire weather for sure.

We have a heat advisory for the coast, and that’s crazy because the forecasted temperature is higher than for the local desert.

Check this out: 92+ degrees today at the beach. It’s a good day to drink lots of water.

From the National Weather Service:
“Another warm day is in store, especially west of the mountains. Many daily high temp records will likely be broken today. “

I figure it’s a perfect time to take advantage of all the solar and wind energy and do a few loads of laundry to hang outdoors.

Climate change?

Spindrift

We’re enjoying a wintry Santa Ana wind event here in SoCal. It’s warm and sunny with gusty winds about 15-25 miles per hour–not bad enough to cause damage. I hear it’s much windier north of us.

The National Weather Service defines a Santa Ana as “Strong down slope winds that blow through the mountain passes in southern California. These winds, which can easily exceed 40 miles per hour are warm and dry and can severely exacerbate brush or forest fires, especially under drought conditions.”

It makes for beautiful ocean views and a bit of spindrift, spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind. Also one of my favorite words because it sounds magical.

Spindrift.

Even though there were no whales or dolphins this time, it’s still the ocean and that’s plenty to be grateful for.

Skyward: Tail(s) of a Mare

Mares’ tails are my FAVORITE cloud formation.

(This led me down a grammar path: one tail as opposed to plural tails; hopefully I’m using proper syntax and punctuation.)

They’re a type of cirrus cloud known as cirrus uncinus. The name is derived from Latin and means “curly hooks”.

An old weather proverb goes, “Mares’ tails and mackerel scales make lofty ships to carry low sails.”

Cirrus uncinus clouds and patchy altocumulus clouds often mean that rain is on its way.

A mackerel sky is a common term for clouds made up of rows of cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds displaying an undulating, rippling pattern similar in appearance to fish scales. This is caused by high altitude atmospheric waves and can also signal changeable weather.

National Weather Service forecasted our region to receive about two inches of heavy rain along the coast, so everyone should prepare for the inevitable flooding and mudslides in the fireburned areas.

I wonder if the full Wolf Moon will affect the storm’s intensity or the total amounts of rainfall. I bet it will.

As above, so below.

From the Mountains to the Sea

Mother Nature gifted us with rain, wind, hail, snow, and surf.

Yesterday was so windy, it almost knocked me over. Trees and power lines were down all along the coast.

I think it’s astonishing that I can see these mountains sixty to eighty miles away when I stand in the middle of my street right in front of my house. I live exactly three miles away from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a bit hazy and the camera lens is trying as hard as it can to capture the snow capped hills.

After walking up nearly fifty steps to the very top of my garden, this is the view facing east to either Palomar Mountain or Mount Laguna (I can’t tell the difference) where they had about a foot of snow.

The power lines are actually quite far away; they seem closer than they actually are.

These apartments are an ugly blight on the landscape, ruining the mountain pic. This city has zero sense about the value of open space.

I would love to drive up to Mammoth Mountain to ski ‘cos I hear they received eight to ten feet of new snow in the Sierra Nevada, but I had a bad experience driving to Snow Summit and have never been able to shake the fear. I had taken my son skiing for his thirteenth birthday and we had a really fun day together but on the way back home, my brakes went out and we almost crashed. REALLY! Actually, we ran off the road at a Ranger’s Station and we’re lucky to be alive. Highway Patrol arrived and we were towed to San Bernadino and the shop was able to repair whatever brake issue caused the malfunction and we drove home. Ever since then, I’ve been too afraid to drive to the mountains. That was about the closest to death I’ve ever been and it traumatized me. Not my Angel Boy though; he’s fearless, and that’s the way it should be.

After the rain, our beautiful ocean is still a little agitated, and the next storm’s clouds loom on the horizon…

Thank you, Mother Nature.