Rainy season

Thanks to El Niño, we’re getting a string of winter storms this week: high winds, cloudbursts, lightning, threats of flooding. The San José Mercury News reported at midnight last night that “effects [of yesterday’s storm] on the Peninsula were mostly minor, but widespread.”

I woke up yesterday to find that power had gone off briefly last night. The commute from San Mateo to Palo Alto was long and slow. It was raining lightly when I left San Mateo, just hard enough to run the windshield wipers. In Belmont and Redwood City, there was no rain but the announcer on the radio said there was heavy rain in the Mid-Peninsula. Within five minutes, I had driven into a cloudburst: the windshield wipers could not keep up with the rain even at the fastest setting; lightning lit up the sky; the road was an inch deep in water; and with the exception of a few idiots who chose to risk hydroplaning, traffic crawled along at 30 miles an hour. South of University Avenue in Palo Alto, the rain stopped.

I’d guess we got well over an inch of rain in the morning, most of it in a few heavy downpours. In the middle of the day, we saw the sun for a brief moment before dark clouds rolled in over the coastal range and let loose another heavy shower which turned the church’s rose garden into a two-inch deep pool of water. The rain has tapered off now, but the weather service predicts that a low pressure system will move into our area over the weekend, bringing “substantial rainfall, and with the ground already saturated hydro problems are possible.” That means more creek flooding is expected.

I wouldn’t wish flooding on anyone — but speaking as a New England expatriate, I’d rather have El Niño flooding than ice storms, blizzards, and hurricanes.

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