Rain, Rain, and More Rain

By JoAnne Hewett | January 2, 2006 4:43 pm

I realize there is probably nothing more boring than blogging about the weather, but I can’t help myself. I need to get this out of my system:

I have had enough rain and it is time for it to stop. Now.

We have had rain for about 10 days straight now, and the land and construction in California is just not able to handle this deluge. I have lived most of my life in the northern midwest and used to laugh when Californians would complain about mere rain on the news. The world sees us whining about rain on the Rose Bowl parade, but after living here, I understand that rain is serious business. I can honestly say that I have never seen a place more affected by, well, weather. After these days of rain, rivers are flooding, roads are impassable, tens of thousands of people are without power, homes are sliding down hillsides, mudslides are sliding onto highways…. you get the picture.

I am in a continuous state of monitoring my own house. Right now, water is seeping in underneath the house, it is coming in through the foundation all along the front and one of the sides, the roof is leaking, water is pouring through one of my windowsills and running down a 1.5 story wall (inside the wall as well), I lost power, and my hillside is saturated, soggy and mushy. My neighbors lost a large Eucalyptus tree. The one bright spot is that my spiffy new drain is working well, otherwise I would have even more water flowing under the house!

I have a summertime of drainage work and roof repair ahead of me, but for now, I just want the rain to stop.

  • http://tingilinde.typepad.com/starstuff/ steve

    aren’t the four seasons in california”


  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    2005 was the second hottest year ever recorded. That means more evaporation and what goes up must come down.

  • Tom Renbarger

    Count another Midwestern transplant who learned about rainy season in CA. Last winter was my first in CA, and right around New Year’s 2005 the carpet in my first-floor apartment flooded along one wall up to about 3-4 feet away from that wall. As far as I could tell it was some sort of wicking effect drawing moisture from below, as I didn’t have any leaky roof or windows. My carpet is starting to get damp again… :-(

  • spyder

    “I understand that rain is serious business. I can honestly say that I have never seen a place more affected by, well, weather.”

    This is a simple, yet incredibly powerful, honest assessment of California. When i retired and moved to the Northwest, a distinctly rainy world, i was surprised by the disdain that were presented when one mentioned CA rains. It is hard to comprehend the geology and geography that is so easily carved and changed by a few inches of rain, a place that also becomes ever more beautiful and amazing from that process. Huge waves change coastlines, reprocessing silts and granitic materials and literally hurling rocks (or pieces of seawalls) into structures that dare to be built in their paths (i grew up on the beaches of SoCal). Unless you have lived in the middle foothills of the Gold Country Sierra (i spent the 80’s in Tahoe region and 90’s-into 2000’s-in Nevada County), you can’t begin to appreciate how a few feet of snow can so quickly be converted into raging torrents of water in a sudden January thaw–all of which begins to move house sized boulders along the bottoms of those foothill rivers. The sound produced is something so unlike anything else in nature. The flashflooding that occurs over more than half the state, turning every depression in the landscape into lakes, that then connect into cataracts of moving water headed to what is now a landscape scarred by flood control system channels. And yet 35+million people live there, in a beauty, that while hiding more and more under and around expanding housing tracts, still reflects the direct immediate impact of all that water.

  • http://www.amara.com Amara

    I’m sorry about your circumstances JoAnne. I do remember well those difficult rainy times. The winter of 97-98 in the S.F. Bay area (http://www.amara.com/aboutme/SF_Rain.jpg ) was one of the rainiest on record. It happened to be during the time when I was preparing for my move to Europe and my little town in the Santa Cruz mountains lost power a couple of weekends and the main access highway was blocked by mudslides. Any time that one needed to travel in and out for normal activities, one needed to drive a few hours up the Pacific coast to San Francisco and go around. At the time I needed to prepare and send my library in US Postal M-bag (carrying 50 book boxes by multiple car trips) and multivisits to California government offices to fullfill German visa requirements in addition to packing up 38 years of my life and wrapping up my fulltime job. I don’t think I slept much those weeks in 1998… You have my deepest sympathies on your current rainy situation!

    P.S. Venice, Italy floods about 60 times a year.. strangely, the people there are used to it!

  • serial catowner

    If the models are accurate, you’re not going to like what happens next….

  • http://feynman137.tripod.com/ Science

    Cheer up, it’s better than heavy snow and ice!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Science: Heavy snow and ice are unpleasant and inconvenient. I know, I’ve lived most of my life in such climates. However, due to the geology, geography, and construction techniques, heavy rain (a few inches) in California causes serious damage. For a majority of the population. Hard to believe until you’ve seen it, I guess.

  • Elliot

    Apparently the first rainy Rose Bowl parade in half a century.

    Clifford take your raincoat to the game tomorrow.


  • GideonS

    Ok, I just moved to SoCal (LA area) last year. I moved here from Oregon. SoCal is in a massive state of denial about the situation. Everyone babbles on about how it never rains forgetting the 2 months of monsoon weather. Oregon and Washington get 9 months of continual drizzle. LA gets all it’s water in about 3 weeks over 2 months. Of course its going to flood. Of course erosion is going to happen. For some dump reason the regional and state government hasn’t worked the two most significant events in SoCal (wild fires and rain) in to there plans. The earth quakes happen every 10-15 years, the rains and fires happen every year. It should be absolutely no surprise.

    But I definitely sympathize. Another lovely aspect of the wilful ignorance is that the houses are built like shit. So at the moment the windows and light fixtures in the house I rent are leaking water. And the lovely french doors are rotting. I also almost ended up trapped in Eureka this weekend. Finally making over 299 before the next storm shut down every road in NW California.

    Anyway, good luck. g


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