Feb 27, 2019
The mid-February rains brought Sonoma Creek up several feet. The creek’s two channels became one as runoff from the hills in Warm Springs and Sugarloaf Mountain combined in Glen Ellen. The picture above shows the forces of water at Larson Park in mid-month. At the same time in 2018 the year’s rainfall had been a mere 9.41”.
Variances at different places in the Valley and County. This year rain levels have varied at different reporting stations in Sonoma Valley. Glen Ellen has greater rainfall than Boyes Springs and the City of Sonoma reports slightly more than Boyes as well. If one views the reporting from Bodega, the Russian River, and Sonoma you will find significant variances.
Are these official rain collection reports? They are reports collected by residents in the areas where they live for CoCoRAHS – Coordinated Rain and Hail Studies – from Colorado State University. (www.cocorahs.org) Sonoma County has 156 reporting stations. California has 1,942 stations at the moment. A total of 70,950 separate stations exist across the USA, Canada, and the Bahamas.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service utilize the data collected from residents. For greater information and a wealth of weather data, maps, charts, and graphs visit www.cocorahs.org. Learn how to become a member. The only cost is $25 for a standard rain gauge used by all CoCoRahs reporters. CoCoRahs is a tremendous source for students, teachers, and interested weather persons. Having worked with CoCoRahs for over ten years I’ve found it a rewarding activity.
The Los Angeles Times (2/10/19) article, “Poor, elderly and too frail to escape: Paradise fire killed the most vulnerable residents.”
The Paradise population was composed of many retired persons. Many of these lived in mobile homes that are fire prone. That is especially so if the mobile home is an older structure. The LAT reports that “an estimated 25 percent of Paradise area residents were 65 or older… That compares with 14 percent statewide.” The Times went on to report that “Of the 53 seniors … identified as having died in the Camp fire, at least 22 lived in mobile or manufactured homes.”
The 1923 Sonoma fires burned into the Springs. So did the 1964 fire. Last year the Springs were saved from burning by fast acting bull dozer drivers who cleared the brush on the back side of the ridges we view facing east. At the height of the fire this writer watched as a bulldozer cleared the back sides of the ridges above Calle Del Monte and Los Robles Drive. Without this assistance the fire could have swooped down canyon towards at least three mobile home parks.
The County F.D. and residents need to take special care to talk about entrances and exits available in a crisis. Neighbors should discuss exit strategies, especially with the aged or infirm. With the predictions that California wildfires will increase in number Sonomans living in fire prone areas need to be prepared for fire, earthquake, and evacuation.
Potpourri: Spring is around the corner… When people living in the Springs walk either solo or with their dogs, it is noteworthy how many creatures are seen that abound in our community and nearby. A few observations: deer, wild turkeys, skunks (it’s mating season), possums, owls, a myriad of birds from finches to robins and hawks, doves, pigeons, and buzzards, squirrels, rodents, wild geese, swans, a fox, raccoons, and…. Once it warms look for lizards and snakes... Have a pleasant stroll. Keep us informed about what you see….
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