Tonight’s forecast: dark

The NWS forecast for the remainder of November

The NWS forecast for the remainder of November (and yes, the headline is a George Carlin/Al Sleet reference).

I don’t like being cold and damp, shoveling snow, or having to wear pants indoors. But neither do I care for the idea of watching the Front Range turn into the Sonoran Desert, only without the great Mexican food.

The local fish-wrapper reported the other day that Bibleburg has enjoyed just a tenth of an inch of moisture this month and for the year to date is eight inches under normal precipitation. This is not a positive development, even for those of us who reach for a cold beer over a glass of water on a summery afternoon. For example, you can’t make beer without water. Unless you’re Coors, which seems to do just fine with Rocky Mountain trout piss.

South of us, in the Land of Enchantment, Elephant Butte Lake is experiencing drought conditions unseen since the year of my birth, which as regular readers know occurred the better part of quite some time ago.

And there’s no relief in sight. Not here, anyway. According to the weather wizards, there isn’t so much as a hint of a whiff of a rumor of a whisper of any precip’ in the Bibleburg forecast over the next 10 days.

What there is, is a parade of 60-and-sunny that will delight me in the short term (I have two bikes to review and more on the way) but gives me The Fear as regards the long term.

This autumn, for the first time since we’ve lived here, a neighbor declined my offer of the usual dozen or so bags of fallen leaves from our silver maple for use in her composting. She has also downsized her once-elaborate front yard to something better suited to a high-desert climate.

“What’s the point in gardening if it’s never going to rain again?” she asked.

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26 Responses to “Tonight’s forecast: dark”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Scary shit. A casual perusal of the climate history of the US Southwest should be required reading for anyone living here and especially developers. Climate historically has ranged from decades of what we call drought to wet periods. Much of the SW was developed heavily during the wet period of the twenty or so years prior to the 21st Century. Ma Nature could give a rat’s ass if we put more warm bodies here than she can supply. And, anthropogenic effects are pushing the system to higher temperatures and faster drying out of what little precipitation we get. Have a nice day.

    http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/cr/v21/n3/p219-238/

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think the first real hint that we all had our heads lodged firmly in our asses climate-wise was in 1980 when I flew to Tucson to interview for a copy-editing job at The Arizona Daily Star.

      Looking out the window of the aircraft I muttered to myself, “Look at all those fucking swimming pools down there.” It seemed that every dwelling, no matter how humble, either had its own pool or shared one.

      And don’t get me started on lawns and golf courses. From the air it looked like a retarded cat had been dragging squares of Astroturf in its litter box.

      Ever wonder whether “Planet of the Apes” may have been a documentary?

      • Steve O Says:

        In the mid ’90s, lots of folks in the pentagon have heard one chief or another say, the last war was fought over oil β€” the next one will be fought over water.

        (Second place was, only the odd world wars start in Sarajevo. )

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Short tutorial.
    http://www.climas.arizona.edu/sw-climate

  3. Sharon Says:

    Last year we had a terrible drought in Texas and the weather forecasters predicted years and years of the same to come. Was pretty disturbing to think that would be true. Then we went on to have a fairly wet winter and also summer. We had the best garden in years. This year, our land in Missouri has seen little to no rain. It seems like the optimal drought conditions keeps moving a bit and now it may be parked in your neck of the woods.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Strange weather lately, to be sure. Driving to Interbike this year the Arizona desert was as green as I’ve ever seen it between Ash Fork and Kingman, and there was standing water β€” shallow lakes, really β€” northwest of Searchlight. Really weird. I wondered at one point whether I was having an acid flashback. Just wait ’til you see those goddamn bats. …

      • Derek Lenahan Says:

        One must keep his head down in bat country, or at least not be trying to drive. Sorta funny, but I was actually hit in the face with a bat after it came off the windshield of my Grandfathers boat. I don’t think the bat found it as amusing. It hit the windshield of the boat head on, the boat was going in the 40-50mph range, bounced up into my face/head and then bounced off the stern of the boat upon exit. Not the best day for the bat man.

  4. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    I would be more than happy to trade your weather (cold as it may be) with the impending ‘precipitation highway’ they are forecasting here in Cal-ee-four-knee-yuh. The NWS has issued a flood watch for the late half of this week as heavy precipitation (i.e. monsoon) is expected to fall in and around the dry portions of greater SacTown.

    I figure that if the skywatchers at the NWS are issuing flood watches two days ahead of schedule……I better be building an ark post haste.

    In lieu of that option (since the tree huggers might be offended with the loss of trees in these parts) I figure I can wish El Nino/La Nina to bypass our fair state for the Rockies. At least until I get some more fat off my bones to justify being in Fat Guy mid-winter form as winter begins…..instead of three weeks early.

    Shim…shalla…bimm…..make the rain go that way!!!!!

  5. Ira Says:

    One thing to take comfort from, weather forecasters can only predict about 4 days out. After that they’re batting under 500. It’s one of the few occupations where you can be wrong over half the time and still get paid. (economist, lawyer, politician, anybody want to add to the list?)

  6. John Dallager Says:

    Read “A Great Aridness” by William DeBuys!

  7. khal spencer Says:

    Anyone watch Ken Burns’ show on the Dust Bowl that was on PBS a week or so ago? Nice warning about taking Ma Nature for granted.

    Our version of catastrophe in Northern New Mexico has been wildland fire suppression rather than destructive plowing of drought resistant grasslands. With 100 years of Smokey the Bear stomping out every fire followed by two decades of wet and now a decade of parched dry, the state is going up in 100 foot roman candles. That is what a bone dry Ponderosa looks like when the crown fire gets to it. It simply explodes, and rains down glowing embers up to a mile downwind once the firestorm gets going. Trust me. When a crown firestorm is a couple miles upwind of your house fed by 30 mph winds, its the scariest thing you might ever see (other than a bicyclist seeing a Chevy Tahoe being driven by a texting driver bearing down).

    Here is another link I was searching for last night, but it was on my work computer.
    http://cpluhna.nau.edu/Change/climate.htm

    That’s the page discussing climate. The whole series of pages, maintained by Northern Arizona Univ and the US Geological Survey, is the sort of thing the public ought to be reading. Even good journalists like John Fleck of the Albuquerque Journal (and the author of certain dogsites) can only go so far on their own in educating the public. Ignore the men behind the curtain, and go to primary sources. Sorry if this seems a tad wonkish, but there is big shit at stake here.

  8. Steve Courtright (@SteveCourtright) Says:

    It should be reassuring that even in a place as dry as Mars life can exist.

    The rovers are alive, aren’t they?

  9. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    As one of my friends said, “I’m glad this climate change thing is just a hoax, otherwise I’d be worried about the changes in our weather patterns.”

  10. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Humans behave like lemmings; we just do it much slower.

  11. Pat O'Brien Says:

    “Followed br scattered light.”. You just got to love George.

  12. swell Says:

    Re-reading “Lucifer’s Hammer” that I must have read 40 years ago as a pre-teen, and damn if it doesn’t make the apocalypse look good. Some of the grief is coming true anyway, without the comet stuff. Remember “The Postman” with Kevin Costner? Hell, every comet movie I have seen in my lifetime must have stolen from this book.

  13. Steve O Says:

    Anyone else notice that all of the geese are flying north right now?

  14. Downhill Bill Says:

    Geese around here only fly in circles. Nice to get a little exercise between sessions of crapping on the golf courses, don’t you know. 8)

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