Monday, February 24, 2014

A Miracle March?

Locals in the area talk often of the "Miracle March" that filled the nearly empty reservoirs of the area just before they went totally dry.

I remember the year well enough, and those preceding.  Dry, hot, dusty, playing with the hose to make a backyard pond brought a stiff penalty and who knows how much money it cost my family.  
Due to the extremely confident forecasting of our NWS meteorologists regarding a storm at the end of this week and my feeling of deja vu seeing and feeling years of drought, I took a look back at the records to see how close that year of the March Miracle, 1991, compares with the current situation.

Looking at the rainfall records at Jameson Reservoir seemed a good place to start.
If you look from January 1989 to February 27, 1991, a period of 26 months, you will find that 24.86 inches of rain fell. 

During this time of drought we went to battle Saddam and kick him out of Kuwait.  In the dry and dusty August afternoon so smoggy you couldn't see Mount Wilson I rode my bike in the streets and I heard of the war others were seeing live on CNN…more than anything I remember how dry and hot it was, that was seared into my mind, and how it seemed to be like the desert everyone saw there on TV, in that place of far away killing.

Then, on Thursday the 28th, the storm door opened, just as these United States were declaring "victory" over Saddam in The Iraq, which we all can find on the map now but most couldn't then, or maybe not.
Ahh Victory in the Gulf war liberation of Kuwait....and then the sky was ripped open and buckets of moisture came down, as for me I was more refreshed by the latter

The “Miracle March” brought more rain in one month than we had seen for 2 years and 2 months and I remember how it felt; seeing the gutters transformed from lifeless concrete shapes into swirling, roiling, bubbling, powerful urban creeks carrying everything including my toy boats along with relative rapidity.
The effect was almost statewide, the storms were not picky.
In all, from February 28, 1991 when the initial storm began to the end of March 29.61 inches of rain fell at Jameson Reservoir.

Now we are in a similar place as we were in 23 years ago. 
Today, February 24, 2014; we have had only 1.9” of rain in Arroyo Grande since last water year.  The hills and valleys are brown, with a small tinge of green due to the minor rains at the beginning of the month.  The live oak population in almost every stand from Gaviota to Arroyo Grande has at least a handful of trees dying, or at least showing tan foliage in contrast to the shiny dark green we expect to see throughout… indicating the great stress of this drought.

I checked what the rainfall at Jameson Reservoir had been from January 2012 until today.

24.48 inches of rain have fallen in these past 26 months.  

Almost the exact same pitiful amount of rain that fell preceding the Miracle March of 1991.

Now, the weather forecasters are all pointing to February 28 as a day that will bring heavy rain and wind to this Pacific state in a way almost forgotten.

We are waiting eagerly for any rain whatsoever here in fish hunter house.
Cheers and peace to all