Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Storms of the Century

Being from the Midwest, where there are many rainstorms, I often have to laugh at the weather casts of "storms" here. In the 3 1/2 years I have lived here, the most rain we have gotten in a single storm has been about 1/2 inch. And when the storms are forecasted, the media here totally over hypes them. The storms of this past week actually lived up to the hype.

It is no secret that our climate is basically a coastal desert. Irvine averages just shy of 13 inches of rain per year. Contrast that with the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where they average about 25-30 inches of precipitation (both rain and snow - 10 inches of snow is ~ 1 inch of rain).

Well, this past week we had several storms hit us in rapid succession, starting on Sunday and ending in the wee hours of today (Saturday). According to NOAA, John Wayne Airport (closest point of reference) got 6.03 inches. The amount of rain increased as the distance from the coast increased. If I had to guess (we don't have a rain gauge), I would estimate that we got between 6.5 and 7 inches of rain this week. We also had tornadoes in Orange County on Tuesday (the closest one hit in extreme south Irvine (about 5-6 miles from here). And for those that may not be aware, houses here are not built with basements. So one needs to go to a windowless interior room on the lowest floor to take cover. Or, in my case, be out to coffee with the leader of the Brownie troop, and be totally oblivious to such trifles as Tornado Warnings. Some of the people I know reacted to the Tornado Warning exactly the way I react to earthquakes. I guess it just comes down to what one is used to. Add to this, the fact that because it so rarely rains here, people here do not really know how to drive in it, especially when it REALLY rains. Yes, that big puddle of water pooling in the right hand lane of the freeway IS going to affect the motion of your car. We saw people on the 405 hit those pools going 65 mph, and totally lose control of their cars. It was scary. One eighth of an inch of rain and many people get confused. Much like in Minnesota during the first snowfall of the season.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was so ready to be done with these storms on Wednesday. All this damp and chilly air really affected my arthritis in a very bad way. The sun is out today and I am still hurting. I imagine those people up in the slide areas are also so done with this. They have lifted most of the mandatory evacuations. There were slides, but apparently, the measures they took to protect buildings worked and the damage from the mudslides appears to be minimal.

Thankfully the sun did come back out today, as it is the beginning of the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale. K and her dad are out canvassing the neighborhood right now for potential customers. Last year K sold 250 boxes of cookies (her goal was 200). This year her goal is 300 boxes. Our troop this year will be participating in booth sales, so K's numbers should go up. The troop plans on using the funds to go to an overnight program at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

In other news, today is S's 19th birthday. Where did all the time go?

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