Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Change in the Weather

Here at Rocky Acres we have developed a special sensitivity to phrases like:

“...THE FIRST FLOOD EVENT OF THE SEASON IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON THE LATTER PART OF THIS WEEK...”

We live in Western Washington and there is indeed a ‘flood season’ here, but flooding normally (I suppose normally and flooding don’t belong in the same sentence) occurs in historically flood prone places. So the notion of floods here in Western Washington in November and December is nothing new. It happens in the Skokomish, Puyallup, Hoh, Skagit, and Chehalis river valleys.

We live in the Chehalis River valley, in a place that does not ‘normally’ flood. But then, it does not ‘normally’ dump:

… “10 TO 14 INCHES OF RAIN FALLING ON THE SOUTHWEST FACING SLOPES OF THE OLYMPICS DURING THE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT TIME FRAME. ABOUT 6 TO 10 INCHES OF RAIN IS POSSIBLE DURING THE SAME PERIOD ON THE NORTH COAST AND SOUTHWEST FACING SLOPES OF THE NORTH CASCADES.

The Chehalis river valley is south of the Olympics, the headwaters in the central Cascades. The truth is I’m not expecting to see water flowing through the living room or even through the yard and here is why:

With our house raised a couple feet higher than it was this time last year we will have to see a flood exponentially worse than last year’s ‘storm of the century’. Second, and I think more importantly, we have not had a preceding cold front drop a lot of fresh snow in the Cascades and the Olympics. It is that combination, a 'rain on snow' event, which creates the real problems for our rivers. An onshore wet cold front out of the North Pacific can drop enormous amounts of snow on the west facing slopes of these two mountain ranges. It’s when the weather continues to pile on shore and we get Chinook winds; warm rain laden winds that drop sheets of warm rain on those fresh snow accumulations that the real trouble occurs. All it takes is a slight change of a few degrees and things go south in a hurry.

I don’t see those conditions aligning, and I think we have done a reasonable job of preparing for the unexpected. I’m confident, but I watch the weather, and Mrs. Codfish dutifully forwards NWS service center statements like the one below when she gets them. It's possible some folks will have a little trouble later this week, but I don’t think we will.

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA1102 PM PST SUN NOV 2 2008WAZ001-503>519-040015-SAN JUAN COUNTY-WESTERN WHATCOM COUNTY-SOUTHWEST INTERIOR-EAST PUGET SOUND LOWLANDS-WESTERN SKAGIT COUNTY-EVERETT AND VICINITY-SEATTLE/BREMERTON AREA-TACOMA AREA-ADMIRALTY INLET AREA-HOOD CANAL AREA-LOWER CHEHALIS VALLEY AREA-OLYMPICS-EASTERN STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-WESTERN STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-NORTH COAST-CENTRAL COAST-WEST SLOPES NORTHERN CASCADES AND PASSES-WEST SLOPES CENTRAL CASCADES AND PASSES-1102 PM PST SUN NOV 2 2008...THE FIRST FLOOD EVENT OF THE SEASON IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON THE LATTER PART OF THIS WEEK...WEATHER MODELS CONTINUED TO INDICATE THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL ON THE NORTH COAST AND THE SOUTHWEST FACING SLOPES OF THEOLYMPICS AND CASCADES ESPECIALLY DURING THE LATTER PART OF THIS WEEK. DETAILS AND TIMING WERE STILL UNCERTAIN...HOWEVER SOME MODELS INDICATED THE POSSIBILITY OF 10 TO 14 INCHES OF RAIN FALLING ON THE SOUTHWEST FACING SLOPES OF THE OLYMPICS DURING THE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT TIME FRAME. ABOUT 6 TO 10 INCHES OF RAIN IS POSSIBLE DURING THE SAME PERIOD ON THE NORTH COAST AND SOUTHWEST FACING SLOPES OF THE NORTH CASCADES. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF THIS MAGNITUDE...IF IT WERE TO OCCUR...WOULD RESULT IN FLOODING OF AREA RIVERS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IN THE URBAN AREAS LATER THIS WEEK COULD RESULT IN FLOODING DUE TO FALL LEAVES CLOGGING STORM DRAINS. THUS IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO CLEAN LEAF LITTER FROM STORM DRAINS BEFORE IT CREATES A PROBLEM. MONITOR FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SEATTLE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON THIS POTENTIAL EVENT.

I had this post in the que but a storm of another kind broke last night. Mrs C will tell you I am a closet political junkie of the first order, I don't even see it as a problem (iasn't that one of the markers of addiction?) Right now I am OD'd on the election and it's aftermath. It's not a hangover for me, it's afterglow. I've bitten my tongue on the subject so long and so hard I'm surprised I didn't bite it off.

I'd love to blog the election but I'll hold off in hopes that those more elequent than I, can say what I'm thinking. But here is just a snippet of the first episode of a comedy series rolling around in my mind:

Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is re-elected. Appeals be damed, his convition(s) are upheld and as a result he steps down from his senate seat. The vacancy is filled by appointment by ....... the Governor of Alaska. I'll leave it to you to wtrite the script for the second and subsequent episodes.

1 comment:

  1. Go ahead and work on that script and then compare it to reality (I mean recent history, not the near future). There is a reason the Governor of Alaska no longer has this responsibility. Remember the saying "Truth is stranger than fiction"?

    Matt

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