Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Rain!

Sunrise yesterday morning. Last night at about 3:00 am, it rained again! How lovely! My only worry is that usually when we have rain this early in the season, it stops around December and then the rest of the winter is very dry. If we are lucky, it will rain again in the spring, March to May. But if we are not...

Last week I bought five bags of mulch and put them down around my flower beds. Looks like I was just in time. I want to conserve every precious drop of rain that falls. I would prefer to use normal leaf litter and such as mulch, but I can't convince my gardner to leave the debris alone. He thinks it is unsightly, I guess. I don't live in a fire hazard area, so normal leaf litter is not only cheap, it is what is best for the soil and the birds prefer it to hunt through for seeds and bugs. The Sierra Club suggested putting store-bought mulch over the leaf litter to please the neighbors while still getting the advantages of the natural process of leaf decay. So that's what I did.

Another Orange-crowned Warbler has been by and a possible Yellow Warbler. I wasn't sure of that one. But no White-crowned Sparrows yet. Maybe this storm has held them off. No takers for my feeder either. The squirrel has given up, but the jays keep trying. One jay has found that if he contorts himself on the feeder's perch, he can get one seed. But it must be very uncomfortable for him because all he takes is one before flying off.


  1. I followed Grace's link over here. A comment you made here had me looking at historical data for correlation between high early rainfall and low seasonal totals. It turns out that they are actually reverse correlated.

    My data goes back to 1944. Based on those data (for Los Angeles, so it's probably measured downtown), an early wet season doesn't seem to be a predictor of an overall dry winter. I count 11 seasons when the Sept-Oct rainfall exceeded 1", and in all but one of those seasons total rainfall was significantly greater than the 60 year median.

  2. Hi Bam,

    Thanks for the data. My memories only go back to 1969, but I would like to know two things. In the years with early fall rainfall, were the months of January and Febuary dry? And/or were there years when the entire season of rainfall came in the fall, with only scant rain the rest of the year? My comment was not that we didn't somehow get our yearly average, but that after early rains, the winter months tended to be dry. And skiing was poor!

  3. You're right to consider the timing of our rainfall, particularly when thinking about snow and getting water to our native plants during their optimum growth period.

    I'd bet that earlier storms tend to coincide with warmer winters, though I don't have the data to show that relationship. This would have implications for snow over rain and for snow pack longevity.

    The short answer is that I don't think the early wet season is correlated with dryer late season. I've put a couple graphs up on my blog to explore this.

    Of course, they could be wrong.