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It Rained Actual Rain Last Night. From the Sky!
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy ABC Local | January 30, 2014
But one sprinkle does not a drought end.
Good news: The Aztec rain god Tlaloc looked down from his astral perch and saw fit to notice the rain dance you did last weekend at Land's End. The bad news: He didn't like your dance very much. So while the Bay Area did receive rain last night, it wasn't very much.
As in almost nothing. According to the National Weather Service, a scant three-hundredths of an inch hit San Francisco last night. It's enough to slick down the sidewalks, but not enough to make a meaningful dent in our drought, the worst in 500 years according to a UC Berkeley estimate. The South Bay fared slightly better, with reports of a tenth of an inch in San Jose. In the East Bay, Mt. Diablo saw eighteeen-hundredths of an inch. (Though we can't confirm that Mt. Diablo's high totals are thanks to human sacrifice, you have to admit: If you hypothetically were going to propitiate Tlaloc, wouldn't Mt. Diablo be the obvious choice of venue?)
Perhaps more importantly, the storm also reached the Lake Tahoe region, with reports of between two and eight inches of snow at many ski resorts. That's not only good for a winter get-away this weekend, but also for the long-term water health of the state, as much of our water comes from the Tahoe snowpack.
The long-term outlook for California's drought continues to be poor. Yesterday's storms managed to pass through the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of high pressure air over the Pacific Ocean thanks to "an occasional wobble at the edge," according to Southern California Public Radio, not because the ridge itself had broken down. That process may take years, as the ridge has built up over the last three.
A climatologist at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego did speculate yesterday that if scientists could inject a Great Lakes-sized amount of cold air into the atmosphere, it could disrupt the ridge—though he did discourage the idea, saying, "We don't really understand what the unintentional consequences would be." Which is the line in the our spec screenplay for Pacific Rim 2 right before Elon Musk shouts, "Never tell me the odds," and hits the switch on the hyper-injector, thereby defying the will of Tlaloc.