Evacuation Warning

It just never ends here.

Many people lost their homes to the CZU Fire last summer.

A few homes were damaged or destroyed by trees and debris that were blown down by strong winds early last week.

Before all the damage could be repaired, and all the mess and clogged drainage could be mitigated, the rain started.

Now, an evacuation warning has been issued because wind and rain predicted for Tuesday night is likely to cause debris flows and perhaps flooding within or downstream from areas affected by the CZU Fire.

It seems to be so unfair that homes, which we expect to be reasonably safe and secure, can be so vulnerable.

We all know the risks associated with living here, but such risks do not often affect so many within such a short time.

In fact, the CZU Fire was the most destructive fire in local history, and involved the most significant evacuations.

Those of us who lack homes must contend with the risks associated with living here as well. Just as rain is a problem for anyone who can not repair a damaged roof in a timely manner, it is a problem for anyone who lacks a roof. The current evacuation warning is unlikely to affect locations inhabited by those who lack homes, but flooding of creeks or the San Lorenzo River might.

Most of those who had recently been deprived of their homes have fortunately procured residency elsewhere, even if just temporarily. Very few lack adequate shelter here. Of those who do, some inhabit sites that are close to water. Those who are in situations that will likely be inundated as creeks and the San Lorenzo River rise need to relocate. This will not be easy in the rain.

Fortunately, rain is not predicted for tomorrow (Monday).

Rainy Season

Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree appreciates rain.

December 13 is the birthday of our dearly departed friend Steven Ralls. His ‘Steven Michael Ralls Memorial Tree‘ that was planted on May 2, for the third anniversary of his passing, is doing well, and likely appreciates what transpired overnight. Now that it got the opportunity to disperse roots through its first season in the ground, it will receive no more supplemental irrigation.

Such irrigation will no longer be necessary. The tree is a native Monterey cypress, which survives on annual rainfall, within a locally limited season. It was only occasionally irrigated through its first season, while it was busy dispersing roots. It should do well without any such intervention next year. Now that the rainy season started, the soil will not get dry until late next spring.

Yes, it is now the beginning of the rainy season here. The second small storm passed through early this morning and continues as I write this. The first arrived on Friday night. A minor prior storm was something of a lone stray, and did little to disrupt the naturally dry weather pattern that had persisted since late last spring. Now, more rain is expected for Wednesday afternoon.

For most of us with roofs, rain will be an asset. It sustains the forests and replenishes the aquifers. This year, it will rinse away the ashy dust deposited by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires. For those without roofs, rain, although appreciated, can cause significant problems. Prior to the CZU Lightning Complex Fires, very few homeless people resided here. It is not as simple now.

Sadly, many local residents lost their homes to the CZU Lightning Complex Fires. Although most are now residing in homes, even if just temporarily, some are not. Many are still cleaning up the mess where their homes had been. Rain will obviously complicate such unpleasant tasks. Furthermore, debris flows, which become more likely as rain continues, are now a major concern.

The end of the fire season at the beginning of the rainy season is no consolation for those who already lost their homes to fire.

No Rain

January 22 is the date of the last locally recorded rainfall. That was three and a half weeks ago. There is only about a %25 chance of rain predicted for next Sunday, a week from today. That does not seem too promising. The probability for rain might decrease just as easily as it might increase. Even if it does not change, there is a %75 chance that there will be no rain next week.

Also, temperatures have been unseasonably mild lately, with no more frost expected for the season. In fact, temperatures are not expected to drop below the mid 40s at night anytime soon. Daytime temperatures are expected to be in the upper 60s. Although it would be unrealistic to expect this weather to continue through this last month of winter, it sure feels like spring now.

Flora in the region is expressing its appreciation for, or confusion from, such excellent weather. Acacia dealbata is in full bloom, implying that stone fruit trees will bloom soon too. Apples and pears bloom shortly afterward. Unfortunately, resumption of wintry weather could ruin early bloom and fruit set. There are risks and consequences associates with such delightful weather.

The lack of rain necessitates irrigation of lawns, landscapes and gardens, which is more work for those of us who live in homes. For those of us who lack homes, the same lack of rain negates the need for waterproof shelter. Mild temperatures that are comfortable for those who lack a home to heat at night are potentially detrimental to the fruit that others grow in their gardens.

No one can change the weather. It would be futile to complain abut it. Those of us who can benefit from it should appreciate it while we can. We know that winter is not done yet.