California storm

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Thanks for thinking of us!

I live on the Central Coast of California (Carmel). The media, as usual, makes the weather sound infinitely worse than it is. I grew up in the Midwest, outside of Chicago, and in almost fifty years here in California, I've never once experienced weather that even comes close to the kind of rain, wind, and snow I experienced there.

The same media that is now hyperventilating about our rain and wind was, only six months ago, writing stories about how it might take a decade to recharge the reservoirs and underground storage after four years of very significant drought. Now, after just four months of rain, all reservoirs all filled to the brim, the snow pack is back to normal (and then some), and even the long-term underground storage apparently is filling up (I have no way of knowing).

We get floods and mudslides any time it rains. That's just the nature of the geography and the soil. This winter's storms are far less fierce than those in 1981, 1995 and 1998.

Having said that, we did have gusts over 70 mph in two of the last five storms (I have a weather station), and a lot of trees came down and a few of my neighbors had roof damage from trees on top of their house.

We're supposed to get more rain today, but I haven't heard any forecast for any section of the state that makes this particular rain sound worse than what we've already had, although certain mountainous areas that are pretty well saturated will almost definitely have mud slides.

Bottom line: this state is filled with wimps, and those of you who live elsewhere experience far worse weather every month of the year than we get during our four months of rainy weather.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: noboundaries
I'll leave Trump out of the conversation and merely make the observation that for as long as I remember, going back decades, both local and national media have increasingly exaggerated weather events. I remember vividly the first time I became aware of this. It was back in the mid 1970s. I was visiting my parents' house and my dad had just bought a weather radio, something that was new-fangled at the time. It was summertime, and like most summer afternoons in the Midwest, there was a chance of thunderstorms. Dad told me, "wait until you hear this." He turned on the radio, and the forecast started out like every other summer forecast I'd ever heard: "chance of thunderstorms this afternoon."

But then it continued, and I started to listen to the most ridiculous, apocalyptic forecast I'd ever heard: "When threatening weather arrives, immediately seek shelter. Do not seek shelter under a tree because lightning strikes can kill. Heavy winds can knock over trees and power lines. Do not go near downed power lines, because they can kill."

It continued in this manner for quite some time.

Of course, like many things the media puts out, they can defend themselves because none of what they said was untrue. However, it was the perspective that had so radically changed. Suddenly, on this weather radio, a friendly little afternoon thundershower had become a killer storm, something they seemed to want me to worry about. From this new perspective we began to get stories about how you could slip in the bathtub, hit your head, and become permanently disabled; the same thing could happen if you slipped and fell down stairs.

Every facet of life was now a reason to worry.

Which brings me full circle to California weather reporting where every rain brings predictions of catastrophe, and sure enough, someone, somewhere usually has some misfortune which will prove the forecast "correct." Except that, most of the time, it is just that one person who had the misfortune, and the rest of the area really didn't experience anything out of the ordinary.

So, when I listen to the radio and TV in 2017, what I now hear is, "Bend over; grab your ankles, crane your neck all the way forward, and kiss your rear end goodbye."

I have a tough time taking seriously people who say things like this, and therefore no longer listen to radio or TV news.
Well put, John. The over-the-top "_____mageddon" (you fill in the blank--snow, rain, wind, etc.) is absurd. Never ceases to amaze that local weather folks can be so dissimilar, when they're all getting the same data out of the National Weather Service. The old adage of "good news is no news and no news is good news" is certainly alive and well.

Just remember, David Letterman's first TV job was as a weather guy--puts things into perspective, doesn't it? :jaw-dropping:
Back to the original subject, I will say that we have not seen this much water for quite a long time.  With two large oak trees above our house, I'm losing a fair amount of sleep.  The ground is very wet.
Back to the original subject, I will say that we have not seen this much water for quite a long time.  With two large oak trees above our house, I'm losing a fair amount of sleep.  The ground is very wet.
Yes, the trees are a real issue, but it depends on the trees. I've gotten quite an education the past five weeks, as I've seen a lot of tree damage, as well as downed trees.

Live Oaks -- No worry, unless diseased. I've seen a lot of live oaks down in a nearby park, but they were badly infected with SOD (sudden oak death). I haven't seen any healthy trees down.

Monterey Pine -- No worry, unless diseased, or unless planted where roots can't go deep. Quite a few of these have come down, however, because so many are stressed from four years with no rain. We took all of ours down two years ago.

Video (embedding didn't work)

Tree Removal

Eucalyptus -- Very big problem. Shallow roots on an extremely tall tree. These will come down in a wind, even if healthy.

Cypress -- I call these "self-trimming trees." Almost every cypress in our neighborhood has lost a huge number of large branches. Some of them make it to the ground, but a lot of them get stuck part way down the tree and are dangling there, waiting for the right moment to fall on something. Their limbs are really brittle. Not a good tree to have near one's home (I still have a few of these and will probably get rid of them this summer, when the tree service rates come down).
Last edited:
Stay dry out there! I lived in the Bay Area for 45 years. Spending 30 of that in public safety, I can tell you the media takes isolated problems and amplifies them into widespread catastrophe. This winter in Idaho has been harsher than anything I experienced in California. That said, you still have to take the risk seriously and keep your head on straight.
Johnmeyer said it beautifully.  Anyone who has lived back east would think this West Coast "Pineapple Express" is just a typical stormy front.  My wife grew up in Texas.  I grew up in California but lived in Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, experiencing a tornado in Nashville and a hurricane and flooding in Texas (Hurricane Allen).  My concern is the Oroville Dam.  If the Oroville Dam fails, we are out of the flood zone, but THAT will be a problem for a LOT of people.     

It's good to know our SMF brethren are thinking of us out here!
Last edited: is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads