“Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”
~ William Shakespeare, “Much Ado About Nothing”
The weather of “Jolly Old England” that Shakespeare wrote of was none too jolly. Due to the climate, continuous dreary conditions were expected during the winter months. Along with the weather a sense of melancholy blanketed London and the surrounding countryside; the citizens and famous playwright residing within were also affected – hence the expression “February face.”
Be it our cozy draft-free and water-tight homes, the lessening drought or just listening to the sound of the falling rain, the storms and resulting precipitation this rain season continue on … welcomed and exhilarating. Shakespeare’s “February face” loses its original and intended meaning here and now.
Southern Californians are asking, “Is the drought over?” First off, it’s too soon to have a definitive answer. Also the various sources – including climatologists and government agencies – don’t always agree with one another. Good and reliable measurable data shed light on an answer. This much we know for certain.
Precipitation in the Rockies and the Sierra matters; as the skies open, the waters eventually head south and add to our water supply. It’s not only the amount of precipitation that matters; it’s the form. Rain is good, but snow is even better. Too much rain and not enough snow are bad. The reason is that California’s water infrastructure was designed to gradually capture slow melting snow. The Colorado River and the rivers of northern California will be flush with snowmelt for some time. The Crescenta Valley purchases water from these sources based on need. But we rely mostly on our local well water, which comes from underground aquifers. Five years of drought have left them depleted and many more years of good rain is needed to replenish them once again. We are on our way. The good news and data:
• Sierra snow pack is at 177%, the highest in 22 years.
• As of Jan. 7, 2017 the 2016-17 rain season total (for La Crescenta) is 21.70 inches (normal is approximately 24 inches).
• February and March bring the most precipitation.
More rain is predicted early Friday morning. After passing through, cool and dry weather is expected for the weekend. As often the case, Santa Ana winds will follow on the heels of a storm most likely seen Saturday night through Monday morning. Warmer temperatures and clear skies take us into next week.
This “February face” is smiling!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.