California Having A Flooding Drought

As we saw for Texas a while back, The Palmer Drought Index is a curious and broken thing. It leads to things like flood warnings and drought warnings at the same time in the same place.

Here’s the Weather Hazard Map:

March 5, 2016 USA Weather Hazard Map

March 5, 2016 USA Weather Hazard Map

I didn’t bother copying over the legend (it’s a bit complicated anyway and most of it doesn’t apply). The key bits are those green marking in California. Those are flood watches. The bright salmon red in the Sierra Nevada mountains are “winter storm warnings”. It looks to me like the thin band along the southern coast is purple and so would be “storm warning”. And it isn’t like this is the first rain of the season: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/raining-again-in-san-jose-in-may-in-a-drought/

In short, we’ve got rain, floods, and heavy snow pretty much from one end of the State to the other and from the coast to Nevada. That, it would seem, is called a “drought” by NOAA.

March 1, 2016 Drought Map

March 1, 2016 Drought Map

In fairness, one does need to wait until the rain has fallen to count it, and the drought map is from 4 days earlier (though downloaded just now, so they have lag in it). So I’d expect that map to improve some, at least eventually.

But, at least for now, I’ve been warned to watch out for a flash flood here in this drought…

Watches & Warnings

Flash Flood Watch

Issued: 7:47 AM PST Mar. 5, 2016 – National Weather Service

… Flash Flood Watch in effect from 2 PM PST this afternoon
through this evening for all portions of the San Francisco and
Monterey Bay region…

The National Weather Service in San Francisco has issued a

* Flash Flood Watch for all portions of the San Francisco and
Monterey Bay region

* from 2 PM PST this afternoon to 10 PM this evening

* heavy rainfall has the potential to cause flash flooding this
afternoon and evening especially for locations near small creeks
and streams.

* Debris flows may occur in locations that have heavy rain.
Highway 1 in the Big Sur region will likely experience debris
flows. Ponding on roadways can lead to very difficult driving
conditions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead
to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

Remember to turn around don’t drown if you encounter a flooded
intersection or roadway.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action
should flash flood warnings be issued.

Yeah… “heavy rain” and “flash floods” and “ponding” on roads and on it goes.

If this drought gets any worse, I’m gonna need a boat…

Here’s some history:

History
Almanac for March 5, 2016

KSJC	Forecast	Average *	Range *
Temperature
High	65 °F	        67 °F	        59 to 76 °F
Low	51 °F	        47 °F	        41 to 52 °F
Precipitation
Rain	1.13 in	        0.00 in	        0.00 to 0.01 in
Snow	0 in	        in	        to in
Dew Point

Some areas are short of rainfall, especially in southern California, but for San Jose, last year was above average and this year is close:

http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/awipsProducts/RNOWRKCLI.php

California Climate Station Precipitation Summary

SRUS56 KRSA 050200
RR4RSA

CLIMATE STATION PRECIPITATION SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE / CALIFORNIA NEVADA RFC / SACRAMENTO CA
600 PM PST FRI MAR 04 2016

 WARNING!! THIS PRODUCT IS AUTOMATED AND UPDATED ONCE PER DAY
           THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS PRELIMINARY CLIMATE DATA

 DATA REPRESENT PRECIPITATION ENDING AT 400 PM PST ON 03/04/2016


                           SINCE    OCT 01-       OCT 01-       OCT 01-  OCT 01-
                           MIDNITE  MAR 04        MAR 04        MAR 04   SEP 30
CLIMATE STATION            TOTAL    2016     PON  2015     PON  NORMAL   NORMAL
-------------------------  -------  ------------  ------------  -------  -------

...NORTHERN CALIFORNIA...

MEDFORD OR                    0.00   15.08   122   11.30    91    12.35    18.35
KLAMATH FALLS OR                 T    7.11    82    8.63   100     8.67    14.96
CRESCENT CITY                 0.00   53.98   119   30.49    67    45.47    64.03
EUREKA                        0.00   36.29   126   24.78    86    28.89    40.33
UKIAH                         0.03   25.52    92   22.95    82    27.89    37.35
MONTAGUE / SISKIYOU           0.00   10.01    88    9.80    86    11.43    18.47
ALTURAS                          T    8.48   109    5.64    72     7.80    14.17
MOUNT SHASTA CITY             0.10   25.99    85   30.16    99    30.53    43.21
REDDING                       0.16   23.63    94   19.89    79    25.09    34.62
SACRAMENTO EXEC AIRPORT       0.22    9.92    72   13.22    95    13.86    18.52
SACRAMENTO - CSUS             0.13   10.39    69       M     M    15.13    20.27
BLUE CANYON AIRPORT*          0.56   41.96    92   27.69    61    45.73    64.62
SANTA ROSA                    0.15   20.56    73   22.87    81    28.15    36.28
SAN FRANCISCO                 0.14   14.68    80   15.92    87    18.34    23.65
SFO INT'L AIRPORT             0.17   11.39    71   14.97    93    16.11    20.65
OAKLAND AIRPORT               0.06   10.80    69   13.22    84    15.75    20.81
LIVERMORE                     0.20   10.17    85   11.92    99    12.01    15.71
MOUNTAIN VIEW - MOFFETT       0.12    8.49    77   12.49   113    11.01    14.68
SAN JOSE                      0.21    9.31    81   11.74   102    11.48    14.90

...CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...

STOCKTON                      0.02    9.99    97    9.31    90    10.35    14.06
MODESTO                       0.06   10.08   107    9.16    97     9.40    13.11
MERCED                        0.02    8.76    99    5.90    67     8.83    12.50
MADERA                        0.00    8.25    95    4.26    49     8.70    12.02
FRESNO                        0.00    9.95   125    4.58    57     7.98    11.50
HANFORD                       0.00    5.48    76    4.05    56     7.23    10.10
BAKERSFIELD                   0.00    3.46    76    4.53   100     4.53     6.47
BISHOP                        0.00    1.93    53    0.73    20     3.61     5.18
SALINAS                       0.13    9.52   102    8.67    93     9.34    12.83
PASO ROBLES                   0.00    5.87    62    8.05    86     9.40    12.78
SANTA MARIA                   0.00    5.16    51    6.70    66    10.20    13.95

...SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA...

SANDBERG                      0.00    5.00    52    6.81    71     9.59    12.33
PALMDALE                      0.00    3.26    54    3.71    61     6.05     8.30
LANCASTER                     0.00    3.05    54    4.32    77     5.61     7.38
SANTA BARBARA                 0.00    7.14    54    8.81    66    13.25    17.76
CAMARILLO                     0.00    3.50    29    8.01    67    11.93    15.22
BURBANK - BOB HOPE            0.00    5.47    42    7.03    54    13.00    17.31
LAX INT'L AIRPORT             0.00    4.91    49    6.71    67    10.03    12.82
LOS ANGELES / USC             0.00    4.99    44    7.40    65    11.39    14.93
LONG BEACH                    0.00    3.90    41    6.86    71     9.62    12.26
FULLERTON                     0.00    4.18    39    5.33    49    10.80    13.88
IRVINE - JOHN WAYNE           0.00    3.58    34    5.74    55    10.46    13.33
OCEANSIDE                     0.00    4.91    48    5.88    58    10.18    13.66
RAMONA                        0.00   10.18    90    7.44    66    11.29    16.04
SAN DIEGO - LINDBERGH         0.00    6.11    80    6.50    85     7.65    10.34
ONTARIO                       0.00    4.74    41    8.43    74    11.45    15.04
RIVERSIDE                     0.00    4.00    43    4.78    51     9.37    12.40
PALM SPRINGS                  0.00    2.45    60    2.09    51     4.07     5.74
THERMAL                       0.00    1.63    73    0.77    35     2.22     3.20
CAMPO                         0.00    6.75    62    6.35    58    10.87    15.73
BARSTOW - DAGGETT             0.00    1.31    53    1.80    73     2.45     4.06
NEEDLES                       0.00    1.37    50    2.40    87     2.76     4.62

...NEVADA...

RENO                             T    6.07   133    2.92    64     4.55     7.40
WINNEMUCCA                    0.00    6.39   155    3.74    91     4.12     8.28
ELKO                          0.00    6.82   132    2.78    54     5.15     9.91
EUREKA NV                     0.00    6.24   162    2.01    52     3.85     9.00
ELY                           0.00    7.02   182    2.05    53     3.86     9.76
TONOPAH                       0.00    4.45   203    0.92    42     2.19     5.24
DESERT ROCK - MERCURY         0.00    4.12   132    2.49    80     3.11     5.93
NORTH LAS VEGAS               0.00    1.75    56    2.28    72     3.15     5.37
LAS VEGAS - MCCARRAN          0.00    1.96    78    1.99    79     2.52     4.19
KINGMAN AZ                    0.00    2.70    61    4.83   110     4.41     8.39
YUMA AZ                       0.00    0.63    36    0.94    54     1.75     3.30

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PON IS THE PERCENT OF NORMAL FOR THE PERIOD
NORMALS ARE 1981-2010 AVERAGES
TRACE AMOUNTS ARE LISTED AS 'T'
MISSING DATA ARE LISTED AS 'M'
LOCATIONS WITH A 0.00 INCH NORMAL-TO-DATE WILL SHOW A 'N/A' FOR PON
PREVIOUS YEAR DATA IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE SACRAMENTO - CSUS LOCATION
BLUE CANYON IS NOT AN OFFICIAL CLIMATE STATION. DATA IS RAW AND UNCHECKED

VISIT US ON THE WEB AT HTTP://WWW.CNRFC.NOAA.GOV/INDEX.PHP (ALL LOWER CASE)

So last year San Jose was 102% and we’re already at 81% this year (and with a couple of more inches predicted and 0.0 our usual for the month, that’s got to rise a fair amount). Mountain View (Moffett Field) was 113% of normal last year.

IMHO, a drought ought to be when you are at least one standard deviation below the average, since the one S.D. range is expected to happen rather most of the time. Many of the present readings ought to be well inside that 1 sd band. Heck, this rain ought to put us over the average for this winter. (That )ct to Mar number 0f 11 inches).

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/04/california-to-get-clobbered-with-wet-atmospheric-river-this-weekend/

So I ask you, just what kind of ‘drought index’ has you in a drought when rainfall is in an absolutely normal range and you have flood warnings?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to California Having A Flooding Drought

  1. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute is working independently to eliminate illegal barriers to information of public concern:

    http://m.azdailysun.com/news/state-and-regional/profs-emails-on-climate-change-ruled-public/article_3654cbcf-f6a1-5187-af02-e94e57be904f.html?mobile_touch=true

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    I am sitting at the keyboard and listening to onslaught of Californian “Sunshine” on my roof here in the foothills above Chico. We appear to have at least a week of rain in our forecast. Just a normal California drought. 5 months of rain followed by 7 of none. Or was that 7months of drought followed by 5 of rain. ;-) Desert or swamp nearly every year …pg

  3. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    Trump and Hillary are now being exposed:

    http://hillarysamericathemovie.com/?utm_source=aweber&utm_medium=email&utm_content=3-5-2016&utm_campaign=newsletter

    Thank you for all you are doing to preserve our constitution.

  4. malanlewis says:

    Same thing over the hill here in Santa Cruz. Last night’s drought nearly washed away the fava beans and knocked the blooms off the cherry trees.

    “Drought” means we’re not getting enough rain to service a growing population and its cadre of growth-at-any-cost industrialists. Can’t justify a new desal plant if there’s enough water for everyone, forever, come all, come now. Drought serves the climate change-as-crisis set, as a handy excuse for more development, more building, more roads and more cars. Drought is the one-size-fits-all excuse for business as usual, that is, abandonment of the lessons hard won about living in a finite world that our ancestors learned over generations of struggle.

    We (the big We, not you and me) have forgotten that natural “resources” (sources of life for all living things) are irregularly available, variable, non-linear, uncontrollable. Our modern (if thats what it is) society expects everything to be available on-demand, just like on their cell phones (theirs, not mine. No cell phones now or ever) and expects our technocrats to be able to fix any problems that arise with technocratic solutions. We went to the moon, didn’t we? Why can’t we have enough water to sustain a 2% per annum growth rate?

    The mind boggles.

  5. omanuel says:

    This year I will become one-third as old as the US government.

    Our country was founded in 1776 on a great promise in the Declaration of Independence:

    We were endowed by our CREATOR with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Ninety three years ago (Dec 12, 1922) the last paragraph of Aston’s Nobel Lecture on nuclear energy contained both:

    1. Another great promise for mankind, and
    2. A dire warning for mankind that . . .

    Frightened world leaders into Uniting Nations on 24 Oct 1945 and taking totalitarian control of society to hide the CREATOR & SUSTAINER of every atom, life and planet in the solar system:

    http://crescopublications.org/pdf/ASSOA/ASSOA-2-005.pdf

    That is the history of our once great country and the corruption that is studiously ignored in the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    Yes, drought grips western Queensland….
    For some ‘interesting’ photos see http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2016/01/17/rain-red-centre-turns-outback-sea-green/

  7. Terry Jay says:

    Saw this on the Univ Washington Cliff Mass Weather Blog

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2016/03/drought-buster-hits-california.html

    It rained too much, big fire season.
    It didn’t rain enough, big fire season.

    Ah, memories of California.

  8. Pingback: The California Flooding Drought, Can It End Now? | Musings from the Chiefio

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