Rain records provide some optimism about next year

Michael Raffety

May 30, 2015

Season rainfall has gone over the 22-inch mark, according to the Mountain Democrat’s rainfall stats. That moves the current 2014-15 rain year into seventh place in the past 141 years of Mountain Democrat rainfall stats. Last year was the fourth lowest.

The rain-year ends June 30. At this point it is a low-water year, but not a record-breaker. The record-breaker, according to state water officials was the pathetic snowpack, which pretty much disappeared in March. The April 1 readings were 5 percent of normal.

The rain years with less than the 22 inches are scattered around the chart. The exception was 1975-77.Only three times have two years of 25 inches or less made back-to-back appearances: 1911-13, 1985-87and 2013-15 (so far).

The average rain year in Placerville is more than 39 inches. Anytime it gets above 30 inches for the year that is pretty good. Hitting the 25-inch mark is a low water year but not a drought.

At no time in 141 years have we had three years of less than 25 inches. Twice have there been three years in a row of less than 30 inches — 1928-31 and 1988-91.

Are we in for a third year?

An El Nino stronger than last year’s fizzle El Nino appears to be forming. Here is how Daniel Swain of Western Weather Blog put it May 10: “Can we expect this year’s event to fall apart like last year’s did? For a variety of reasons, I’d argue that it’s quite unlikely (though, as is ever the case in the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, not impossible). Why is this year different? Strictly speaking, it would be impossible for El Niño to fall apart as quickly as last year because it’s technically already here: various agencies have officially declared the arrival of weak El Niño conditions based on current observations.”

“It’s very important to reiterate, at this point, that just because the models are depicting a powerful El Niño later this year does not mean that such an event will actually come to pass. We need to look no further than last year for a stark illustration of that reality.” Swan warned.

. . .

March 31 New York Times item: “Obama praises Kennedy, mourns collegiality.” Sheesh! Speaking at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, the Times summarized his speech as a “call for a new era of consensus building.”

What a hypocrite. He has spent his whole presidency demonizing Republicans, Wall Street and bankers, but especially Republicans. Now that he is counting on the Republicans to pass the fast track trade authorization Obama is demonizing Democrats.

The only constant in all this lack of bipartisanship since 2008 is Harry ”The Weasel” Reid. The Gridlock Grinch has enabled Obama to blame the Republicans for gridlock.

 . . .

 One week of building permits isn’t a trend but I found it remarkable that May 11-15 building permits issued by the county showed only one single-family home permit issued that week. It was in District 3, which includes Diamond Springs, Placerville and Pleasant Valley. District 5 did have a permit to replace a single-family home. District 5 is the unincorporated area of South Lake Tahoe. District 2 had a permit for a multifamily home permit. No single-family home permits in El Dorado Hills, which is District 1.

 . . .

 Kings forward Rudy Gay, 6-foot-8 inches, got cold-cocked by an elbow to the head March 30. That concussion put him out of action for the rest of the season.

When my son Wolfgang , also 6-8, was in high school he got elbowed by an Elk Grove player who looked more like someone whose primary position was center or tackle on he football team rather than basketball. Wolfie made to the other end of the court but it was obvious he was wandering downcourt in a daze. He was benched for the rest of the game. We were careful to wake him up a couple of times during the night to check his status, to his great annoyance.

There was a big Bee Sports section item about the UC Davis Aggies wearing helmet pads to prevent concussions during practice. They are not allowed during a regular game. The NCAAA ought to change that. Concussions in basketball are one-offs. In football it is more like boxing. The difference is boxers will have one or two major matches a year. In professional football every lineman gets his cranium rattled every Sunday.

Exterior helmet pads ought to get serious consideration.

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