Rain, In May, In California, In San Jose

At about 1 AM I heard rainfall. Opening the front door, it was raining and the sidewalk was wet. This is notable for two reasons. First, it was louder than the movie I was watching on TV, so not just a drizzle. Second, because we normally have rainfall end in April.

Now it IS possible to have rain in May, and our average is something like 0.02 inches for the day, so not zero (per Wunderground). The record is from 1905 at 0.87 inches. However, during the last few decades during the warm phase of the PDO it has not been this way. Spring came early, rain stopped early, and it was warm and dry though the spring and summer. Right now we’re looking at drizzle and 54 F temperatures. Wine grapes don’t ripen very fast in cold and dank.

It is my opinion that we’ve moved well into the cold phase of the PDO, things are cooling, and a lot wetter.

On Weather Nation, they are forecasting SNOW for the Sierra Nevada mountains tomorrow and rain along the coast down toward Los Angeles. The map showed what looked like pods of rain over much of Nevada, parts of Arizona, and into New Mexico. So much for an early Summer.

It seems like the whole northern hemisphere is getting extra wet, snowy, and cold conditions; but with an oscillation as waves of the Jet Stream wander back and forth in a meridional configuration. In the late 90s, the jet stream, IIRC, was much more zonal and things were more stable and dry. We’ve now gone back to the more meridional pattern I remember from the ’50s and ’60s.

It’s cold and wet when I’d rather have warm and dry.

On the radio news today they were announcing to “Stay Away from the Merced River”. Why? LOTS of water being released due to the very heavy snow pack and they don’t want dams overtopped. Much of our “water storage system” is full, and being drained, just before summer. Due to a whole lot of snow. Cold snow. Mountains full of it.

This is not the Global Warming I was promised.

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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...
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11 Responses to Rain, In May, In California, In San Jose

  1. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. On climate reanalyzer it looks like California is sitting in its own personal Jetstream dip there’s another one over close to Great Lakes. I haven’t seen two dips before.


    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  2. pearce m. schaudies says:

    Hi Chief. Here is another excellent high-level explanation of Holocene variability by mr. Javier.


    As we get further and further into the interglacial exit and head towards the next Ice Age the thermal gradient from Tropics to pole will get more severe and cause more weird powerful weather systems.

    Pearce M. Schaudies.
    Minister of Future

  3. andysaurus says:

    I still say you should buy coal and store it for the Cold that’s coming fast. (Faster than anybody forecast).

  4. tom0mason says:

    Of course this will be linked to manmade CO2 by some unverifiable fantasy by the AGW advocates who are unable to consider the words ‘NATURAL VARIATION’ in relation to weather or climate variability.

  5. Serioso says:

    How are the State groundwater levels compared to past years, historical averages, etc.? Until these come back to historical averages you may still be considered to have a water deficit.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    When having the record rainfall ever recorded in some areas of N.California, snowpack of biblical proportions, and reservoirs full: it takes a peculiar devotion to The Agenda and The Cause to hang your hopes of drought on the very end of the hose before the flood gets there…

    In My Old Home Town (more or less central north valley) we hit ground water at 14 feet down under a 3 foot clay layer, it then rose to 10 feet as the hole filled. Some nearby farms had low head artesian wells. Tule Lake in the south is where the water table becomes above ground level. Essentially the Central Valley is a bucket where all the precipitation accumulates and sometimes becomes a lake. (See “Lake Sacramento” in historical records).

    At the forebay and afterbay at Oroville, they have rows of pumps to keep the “ground water level” from becomming a couple of feet deep swamp due to leakage from the bay into that couple of feet down normal water table.

    Were it not for very careful management so far this year, we would again have a lake in the central valley. The Yolo Bypass (think miles long seasonal lake next to Sacramento made artificially next to the river) has been running near flood from Lake Oroville and Shasta. This, BTW, puts water at above ground level and if any levies break, Lake Sacramento returns… Ditto the Delta and Levee areas.

    Can you find a dry hole to panic over somewhere in the Mojave or Kern Counties? Certainly. Deserts are like that. Perhaps even in L.A. County too where the LA River is usually a set for car chase scenes and is held entirely in concrete when full. Might even find one in uphill areas of the San Joaquine drainage as there have always been. None of those would have meaning as they are NORMAL.

    In the 1960s a guy drilled a 700 foot dry hole on a ranch he bought in the foothills. My Dad was called out and we (I was with him) picked a spot about 200 feet away. There he hit water at about 100 feet in a sand layer. The area is covered with various historical lava flows and hitting rock all the way happens sometimes. The soil structure in any one spot is dominant. In the hills, if you land on a lava flow, you get a dry hole as it is a foot of soil over solid rock. Get a sill or crack in it, with some uphill dirt, you have enough for your home. Pick a spot with a valley feeding into it, you gets water for a town. Water levels in such wells vary with the year (ground storage is one or two years max) and folks know that when they buy there or drill wells. (Dad sold ranches for a living and I was there for more such discussions than I care to think about, but you get a fair education in geology and ground water. Talking to the drillers was fun.).

    So one year of normal rain, those soils are refilled. A year like this, the worry is mud flows and hillsides moving from water saturation, not “low water table”.

    Basically, the State has three major natures.

    The Southern Desert: where most of the water for the Los Angeles Basin come from huge water projects from mountains far far away.

    The Mountains: with thin soils over volcanic and granite bases, some areas with uplifted sedementary soils. Shallow soils and wells that go dry in year 3 but fill in one. (IFF you are careful and get sedementary fill downslope in a valley, you can gave a well good all the time in the hills)

    The Great Central Valley: that is a giant bucket of sediments in hydrological balance with the bay delta on one edge and the mountains on the other. It is naturally a seasonal lake and the water table is from surface level to a few hundred feet depending on your elevation and historical water flows. The biggest impact on water table in the valley is the flood control removing seasonal forced filling (most folks think this is a benefit…) and secondary shipping of massive water to LA from those dams (instead of ground water injections).

    That means there is NO natural shortage of ground water at this point. The only real issue is pumping ground water out of the south valley and not letting it be replaced in years like this. We stopped the natural filling in floods and instead ship the water to LA or run it out to sea. That area is from about Fresno to Bakersfield and is what makes the news. Want to fix it? Don’t run the Merced River full force out to sea right now. Breach the levies and let it flood; or put big pumps in place to pump it underground without flood. But do realize it isn’t a climate or weather driven problem, it is a human water management caused removal of natural ground water recharge and it exists in all weather years.

  7. philjourdan says:

    So the rain in San Jose does stay mainly on the plain.

    Just does not work as well as Spain.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    First time in the resort’s history.

    According to The Tahoe Weekly, Squaw Valley will keep running its Shirley lift for skiers and riders past July 4th for the first time in the resort’s 68 year-long history.

    As of today, Squaw Valley has seen 714″ of snow and their base is a whopping 232″ DEEP.“The Shirley Lift access mostly northwestern facing slopes that have the ability to stick around through the mid-summer months. ”Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth previously said, “I’m actually considering staying open through the summer and fall so it becomes the 16/17/18 season.

    ”Read entire Tahoe Weekly article:

    Thanks to Jack Hydrazine for this link I posted about Squaw Valley possible staying open all season a couple of weeks ago.

    Guess Global Warming brings year round skiing… what could possibly be wrong…

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Looks like Canada is also seeing excessive rain and flooding.


  10. E.M.Smith says:

    No spring yet in silicon valley… sitting in a Starbucks. To cold and overcast to sit outside.

    I’ve had mid-May times where the AC was seriously needed here… this is very much like back in the early 70s when cars sold here came without AC but you could order it… then the later 70s great Pacific shift happened and AC became mandatory. I think we’ve swapped back.

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