Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Le Deluge -- Part 2

SUMMARY: A wee bit o'rain and even loud noise from sky.

San Jose's average rainfall is about 15" a year. We've had 3 years of drought. This year we seem to be making up for it in an odd sort of way. Like, remember back in October when we got 3.5" of rain in a day?

This week they're saying 5 to 10 inches of rain over maybe a 7-day period in the low areas around the San Francisco Bay and two or three times that in the mountains around the bay area. As of about noon today, we'd had 2" in the last 2 and a half days. Most of it last night and this morning, I suspect.


We have a one-day USDAA trial this weekend. Boost's next chance to complete her MAD (with that one elusive Jumpers Q). We need to be practicing our bar-knocking drills. But--



 
So hoooold on there, Baba Looey, I'm thinnin'--not today! Maybe not all week! A series of storms are supposed to keep drenching us repeatedly through the weekend. It's raining again now. This is also a little scary; we have these "average" rainfall figures, but they're based on just about 100 years of history and who knows whether that's really normal?

There is a street in San Jose named Dry Creek Road. Nice winding tree-lined road below grade along which luxurious homes nestle, alone surrounded by the usual right angle grids of basic suburbia. Know how it got that way? So much rain in a single week in the winter of 1861-1862 that "most of the valley filled with water," and when the waters subsided, the creek had changed course. (ref) We've not had anything quite like that since, although a couple of winters came close. (Read a bit more about that flooding here.) I sure hope we don't have anything like that again, since most of us don't have flood insurance in this valley. No big rivers go through here, just really small ones that mostly you can wade across in several steps.

Oh, sure, Alviso--which has subsided below sea level because of all the water sucked out of the aquifers--floods more regularly than anyone would like, and downtown San Jose, which is right about sea level and right near the end of the Guadalupe where it meets the bay, has had flooding problems off and on. ("The Guadalupe River flooded downtown San Jose and Alviso in 1862, 1895, 1911, 1955, 1958, 1963, 1969, 1982, 1986, and 1995." (ref)) But not the rest of us in the rest of the valley.

Oooh--just had some thunder and lightning! Very rare for this part of California (and most of California). Boom! Dogs jumped up and barked. I did same thing my dad did when I was a child--explained what thunder and lightning are and how they're a natural part of the world and that thunder is loud but harmless. That seemed to satisfy them for the moment.

When the rain quit for a while midday, I stuffed the Merle Girls into MUTT MVR and headed down the road a bit. The air is SO CLEAR around here right after rain! Washes all that grody polluting crud right out of the sky. Climbed to the 5th story of the Kaiser medical center parking garage for some photos.

To the west, Mount Hamilton hid behind clouds but the foothills glowed green in the sun. And look at that stunning blue sky!
 
To the northeast--more or less towards the bay in the far far distance--the puddles in the former sprawling IBM complex are reminders of how much of this valley used to be seasonal wetlands. (Property was supposed to be developed into mixed-use retail & residential; all the old buildings were torn down after a failed fight to preserve the main building as an historic structure (read some here); then--Bust!) The light rail sweeps by in the median of highway 85.
 
To the southwest--oooh, OK, better hustle, the Santa Cruz mountains (coastal range) are still enveloped in rainclouds. And it's moving this way.
 

We hustle over to our favorite park where we can get away with off leashedness. I throw the frisbee a bunch; the dogs are delighted to be out and about and moving, although Tika takes frequent breaks to go exploring. Boost is all frisbee, all the time. When the dogs are far and away out after the frisbee, I can hear thousands upon thousands of tiny crisp pops, of air bubbles rising from the grassy ground as the water seeps in or the tension on the water breaks as it's absorbed--very interesting to hear. Like what you hear on a beach right after a wave has washed across the sand and receded.

The dogs are sopping with rainwater and mud but are tired and happy. (Happy at least til we get home and I have to hose them down. Ewwwww--don't get me wet human mom!)

We get home just as the rain begins again.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely WONDERFUL photos! Loved the mountains and the clouds. And Boost looks like she just got away with something evil! LOL! Hope you guys don't float away, we see more rain on the weather map for you! (Loved the description of the water soaking into the ground.)

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