January 17th, 2010

gericault_raft of the medusa 1

The Coming Storm

Some of the oaks have been uncommonly reluctant to let go of many of their dead leaves this year, and they hang there, brown tatters. There's a good chance they'll come down this week. The jet stream, shifting south, is not only going to bring a series of cold, wet storms, but it's unusually low, so there will probably be high winds, especially in the mountains.

The combination is distressing. Wet ground and high winds are apt to take down a lot of trees, and the falling trees take down the utility lines. If the electricity goes, then the furnace quits, and then the only room in the house with heat is the den which has a gas heater— but that's the room with the leaky roof. The house has crappy insulation, and it's going to get very cold. This building belongs in Southern California, not the northern mountains.

More interesting still is the possibility that several days of cold storms will deposit several feet of snow in the higher mountains and then the weather pattern in the Pacific will shift, sending a series of much warmer, but equally wet, storms, which will rapidly melt much of the snow. Then if we're still without electricity, or without cable, I won't be able to watch the resulting floods on television. I won't get to see Sacramento underwater on live TV! What's the point of living in California if you don't get to see the capital city flooded until after everybody everywhere else has seen it?

I can now hear the raindrops on the roof. They sound deceptively gentle.