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Rain tracking

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It's raining again here. Normally I would be unhappy about this (I still disapprove of stuff falling from the sky), but the dire news warnings about California's drought have finally penetrated my anti-rain bias, so I'm at least a little happy about it.

(For those who haven't seen the dire news warnings, the short version is that we're in year three of a drought, rainfall continues to be below average, we have way more people than we did last time there was a drought, and a lot more farmland (than last time) is devoted to crops that can't be fallowed. I just saw an article that said something like 40,000 farm-related workers might be out of work this year as a result. The governor has asked us all to cut back on our water use by 20%.)

Anyway, so I'm paying more attention to rain-related news now than I was a few weeks ago. So every time it rains, I want to find out how much it's raining, and to what degree it helps, and whether it's above or below the normal rainfall for this time of year.

And I found that info frustratingly difficult to locate. There are pages that show average-monthly-rainfall charts for California (though I just saw two of those with wildly different numbers), but I couldn't find a page that juxtaposes that info with monthly-rainfall-so-far-this-year numbers.

Eventually, I found the California Drought Update 2009 page at the UCSD California Climate Change Center's website; that shows much of the kind of thing I'm looking for (though not in the exact form I wanted), but it was last updated on January 30. Still, it does use the word "SNOTEL," and it does have pretty-but-scary colored maps showing how much of CA has been below 50% of normal precipitation over the past two years, so it's worth taking a look at.

Finally, I followed some links from that page and got pretty much the info I was looking for. But since it was hard to find, I figured I'd post a blog entry pointing to it, in hopes that it would help both interested persons and search engines find the stuff.

The main key I was missing is that there's a large amount of data at the CA Department of Water Resources website.

Here are some specific relevant links, both at that site and elsewhere:

1 Comment

I thought droughts like this were mostly related to insufficient snow pack in the mountains (resulting in dried out rivers and diminished water table)? Of course conservation is still key -- if the well is running dry, getting people to stop taking excess water out of it is a no-brainer. And I guess rain in your area would keep all those funky-looking plants y'all have alive without people foolishly using the limited water to do so. But, if people stopped watering their yards anyway, you could go back to resenting anything falling out of the sky in your area, since what little it does to affect the drought could just as easily be accomplished by stranngling your neighbor with his own garden hose, right?

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