All that rain

It rained…a lot. Not as much as in a big, multi-day storm a couple of Februarys ago, but a pretty good hit. My rain gauge registered a good 7 inches over a few days.  (Of course, it’s only the 15th, so the month can still find a good robustness.)

According to press reports, most Bay Area cities are at 100% of average annual rainfall for the rain year that starts measuring on October 1 and doesn’t end until for a couple more months as well as for the calendar year.  It’s good to not be in a drought.

Of course, it’s difficult not to juxtapose all the water falling form the sky with the previous two smoke-filled Autumns. Nature is a study of contrast, chaos and balance.

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Showing the scale of my rain gauge.

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The inner tube captures an inch of measured rain; then the water in the outter tube is poured into the inner to determine the amount.

There was quite a bit of news leading up to the rain, much of it catastrophizing the potential impact. Overall, even though it was a relatively strong storm, it was not out of range for out typical seasonal rain events.  As I mentioned, my rain gauge here showed about 7 inches over a few days; I’ve included a chart of rainfall totals provided by the National Weather Service Bay Area office.  (Which, of course, I can do because they aren’t in shutdown mode; though they kept activities in motion during the last one, there were detrimental effects and limitations in the robustness of their data.)  A nearby weather station measured just over 8.25 inches over the past 7 days.

While I really, truly understand the need to warn people in advance about potential hazards and urge caution (some people need a lot of warning to be cautious), I’m concerned that the tone of much of the coverage has gotten more catastrophic and hyperbolic, inducing and stocking fear about the weather and natural occurrences.  I’m troubled that this invokes anxiety and unnerves some people about nature. With all the evidence pointing to a disconnect from nature, and the unfavorable impacts on health and well-being, I think we need to realign how we communicate about natural phenomena—and in this case I mean the media, and, to some extent, people at the National Weather Service providing information and interviews TO the media.

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AND, just to really address a current peeve of mine: We have always had “atmospheric river” phenomena influencing weather on the west coast—always—it’s not a new thing. The atmosphere drives weather to us, and sometimes, periodically during the rainy season, conditions align to drive a great deal of warm, moist air to us.  In fact, our ability to maintain water supplies is linked to having several large storms each season. My perspective is that media reporting jumped on the phrasing a few years ago and has used it relentlessly and to sensationalize—clickbait mentality wins again!

So, always be safe, but don’t get over-wrought about headlines or stories in the regular media concerning the day-to-day weather—context is everything.

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