Winter Solstice 2010

Believe it or not, Winter begins today. Yes, all that rain we saw in California in the past several days occurred in the Fall. We are on track to have the wettest December ever, at least in southern California. In many locations, we are getting a year’s worth of rain in a week!

Apparently, the rain is not limited to the southern part of the state, since the Department of Water Resources made the highly unusual move of doubling the allocation for 2011 to 50 percent of entitlement. I say highly unusual because the DWR’s normal practice is to make adjustments to the allocation shortly after the first of each month. They base any adjustment on the snow survey that occurs on the first of the month. And the first snow survey hasn’t even happened yet! Highly unusual, indeed. And extremely encouraging water supply news for next year: DWR is notoriously conservative — and usually pretty slow — with its allocations.

Also highly unusual is the cosmic event of last night: a lunar eclipse. Not only a relatively rare lunar eclipse, but one that coincides with the Winter Solstice. According to the Washington Post (source of today’s photo), the last time this happened was in 1638! Unfortunately for star gazers in California, the cloudy skies made eclipse watching impossible. Well, maybe in another 372 years …

Meanwhile, close to my home town on the Central Coast of California, the rain was so bad that the community of Oceano experienced some serious flooding. It even made the national news! Here is a link to a local news report:

I’ll have to check with my pals in San Luis Obispo county to see how the lake levels are doing at Nacimiento, San Antonio, Whale Rock, Santa Margarita, Lopez, and Twitchell. That kind of flooding must mean big improvements in storage in those local lakes.

Best of luck to those in Oceano and other areas that are dealing with these awful floods. And to everyone else, enjoy the Winter Solstice and the days ahead.

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