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December 31, 2005: Out with a splash

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I woke up this morning to the sound of rain pounding on the roof, much the same sound as when I went to bed last night. When I went downstairs to make breakfast and wrap Richard's birthday presents, I looked outside and it was evident just how much water the latest winter storm had dumped. Normally when we get a heavy rain we get a little pond that forms in the middle of the path in the backyard, right where the white peach tree stands. This morning the pond stretched all the away around the raised flowerbed, covered the bottom step to our back porch, and joined up with a new pond on the other side of the yard, behind the garage. So much water in such a short period of time that the ground is too saturated and it simply has nowhere else to go but there. I've joked occasionally that a house with a dragon on the roof really ought to have a moat, but this morning, when it looked like we might be halfway there, it wasn't quite so funny.

Reports of worse than just flooded backyards have been trickling in throughout the day. My older sister up in Napa lost power for a few hours during the day, and parts of the main town were flooded. News reports mention mudslides and people being evacuated in Napa, Sacramento, and other parts of Northern California. The 80-680 interchange was shut down in Fairfield/Cordelia, likely due to flooding. My brain is having a hard time wrapping around all of this - we just don't get this kind of extreme weather in this area, and yet, here we are in the middle of it, with another storm supposedly on the way.

I assumed the flood in our backyard was the worst it got in our immediate vicinity, since we're not close enough to any creeks, rivers, or lakes where larger scale flooding might be a problem. I'd not thought about clogged storm drains, nor would we have seen the problem anyway, since it occurred just around the corner down the road. But as we left the house for the first time in the day, to go for lunch, the neighbor noted that our street had, indeed flooded. We passed city trucks and men in bright orange jumpsuits still poking in and conferring over various storm drains, and the line of debris from the flood was clearly visible halfway up a number of the neighbors' driveways.

The storm literally blew itself out eventually, but high winds are so common around here that I doubt anyone would have noticed anything unusual. As it was, I only paid attention to the fact that there had been wind because the streets were dried so quickly after the deluge.

The weather people are saying that we're due for at least one more huge storm to sweep through the area, likely tomorrow. But in the meantime there is wind outside, and even more startling after the sogginess of the night and the morning, there is bright, lovely sun.

Happy Holidailies

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