Thursday, January 12, 2017

The 2 Percenters.

They live in Santa Barbara and the mountains and valley inland of there.  Two point one six to be exact.  That is the percentage of the state still in Exceptional Drought.  Down from near 21%.  We still have 28% of the state Extreme (or more) and nearly 50% in at least Severe drought.  But this is excellent news.  Water is an amazing thing and a powerful force as I am sure anyone who has been driving over the Santa Cruz Mountains this week can attest to.  My wife returned from work around 9:30PM last night due to a slide that periodically closed southbound Highway 17 near the Cats.  They would clear a lane, allow some cars through, close the lane and re-plow the oozing mud off the road.  The thing about water, mud and earth, is that while it can collapse catastrophically, it more often glides, slips, and just continue to ooze itself down hill.  Until the water drains.  We are headed into a drying period right now, but please use caution over the next few days if you head into the hills.

I know a few days ago I said this will be a good weekend to hike to a waterfall.  I still believe that.  But it is also potentially dangerous.  Keep an eye ahead and uphill of you if you plan to venture into the forest.  Watch for running water, and even more so, for water emerging from the mountainside.  Keep a good distance from moving water, and be aware of eroding banks.  This is actually a great hands on learning experience regarding hydrology, ecology and safety.  Have fun if you head out there.

About a half inch of rain last night.  Three quarters in Scotts Valley.  A foot to 18" at Kirkwood, putting them ten feet deep in snow.  If you are headed to Tahoe this weekend, please drive considerately and realize everyone else is headed up there as well.  And be safe.  Don't duck ropes.  Don't leave the resorts, unless you very truly know what you are doing including having a buddy, beacon, shovel and probe.  The avalanche danger is very real in Tahoe right now.  There still exists some deep instabilities related to a 12/15 rain crust, which now has 15-20 feet of snow on it.  Read the SAC report even if you plan to stay in the resorts.  It should be very good up there, as many places are still closed today digging themselves out from underneath this thing.  Ride with a buddy this weekend - even when staying inbounds and be ware of tree wells.  Stay safe.  Should be sunny and in the 30s in the mountains.

Coastal we see upper 50s and sunshine, with improving surf conditions.  Small long period swell arrives Saturday with moderate swell arriving Sunday.  More storms return mid next week according to models.  Get your sun while you can.

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