We’ve been getting a little rain. Not record setting rain, but real rain (and wind, our Thanksgiving gifts from the North Pacific) for the last week or so and there are a few more punches on the way, but that’s what we get this time of year.
Of course it wouldn’t be winter without a weather drama, and some of you have noticed that our friends at the NWS have been using the ‘F’ word when talking about the Chehalis River.
We’re fine, really. We appreciate your calls and emails, keep sending those happy thoughts, prayers, incantations, etc. our way, they’re working (no flooding here) and I’ll chalk that up to your good wishes. Look how powerful you are!
I am a little worried however about the fish; If this keeps ups up there is a chance that a couple of the smaller, weaker ones may drown.
The next iteration of increased rain and wind is scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) with the ‘chance of showers’ at 70%. The rest of the week looks positively dusty, (rain chance at 30 to 40%) but I’m not too worried. The last blow was predicted for Saturday with heavy rain and high winds through the Chehalis gap. It was a little blustery (I’ve got a mess of the neighbors leaves to fish off the bottom of the pond) but nothing like the 60 to 70 mph winds predicted.
Ronald Reagan famously announced that “Guvmint isn’t the solution, guvmint is the problem!” to rousing cheers. I have no interest in engaging that larger discussion, but I can’t say enough good about the National Weather Service (NWS), a little branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Tax money well spent.
Perhaps taking on the task of administering the oceans and atmosphere nationally suggests a bit of hubris, but I have been mulling over an award of the Great Order of The Codfish Hug Assignment (GOtCHA) to the NWS for making it so easy for me to keep in touch with the predictions for our own personal meandering nemesis. People who live in proximity develop relationships with ‘their’ rivers. It’s always handy to have a neutral third party feeding you bits of information on the sly about your psychotic relationship partner. Enter the NWS Northwest River Forecast Center. Of course a forecast is nothing more than an educated guess, but I’ll take that over ‘wait and see’ any day, especially any day in November and December.
If you look at an aerial view of ‘our river’ you’ll see something that could give you a clue about the direction things might take under certain circumstances. Literally. The river wanders around getting from Centralia down to Grays Harbor. (that's our stretch of river)
If your river runs fairly straight from the uplands to the sea, you are less likely to find it in your back yard (or living room) than if it’s course describes a series of arcs and ox bows. These meandering stretches indicate that there is not a lot of elevation change in those reaches. The river channel here is less defined, less deep and thus less likely to contain the river during high flows (Colorado river Grand Canyon aside). NWS can tell you what the flood stages are, and you can sort out how frequently and how badly your river floods. You can then figure out what the flood elevation of your home (or prospective property) is and make something like an educated guess about the likelihood of flooding, the probably frequency, and severity.
Or you can just fall in love with the place, ask the current owner if it’s ever flooded and perhaps enquire discreetly of the locals about flood history. Nothing like hindsight to second guess your decisions.
Here's a snap of My River Page at Porter. Porter is downsteam from us, not too far as the crow flies, but of course the river meanders between here and there so maybe better to say not too far as the heron flies.