Posts

The deluge of October 24, 2021

Image
The atmospheric river we were holding our breath for did not disappoint. It started to rain shortly before midnight on Saturday (October 23, 2021) and continued nonstop past midnight on Sunday and into Monday morning. I was glued to the weather all day on Sunday, and I never noticed a break in the action. According to the Facebook page of the National Weather Service's Sacramento office, downtown Sacramento received 5.44" in the 24-hour period from 1 a.m. Sunday, October 24 to 1 a.m. Monday, October 25. That is an astonishing 69.1% of the total rainfall for the entire  2020/2021 water year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021). All in one day. That's pretty mind-boggling! Graphic from the  Facebook page of the US National Weather Service, Sacramento Office This was a new all-time record for the most rain ever received in a 24-hour period in downtown Sacramento, breaking the old record that had stood since 1880 (!): Facebook post by NWS Sacramento If you think 5.44&q

After the rain, before the deluge

Image
What a difference a couple of days make. On Wednesday (October 20, 2021) we were still looking at a 215-day stretch without measurable precipitation. On Thursday (October 21, 2021) we finally received the first rain since March 20—just 0.19", but heck, I'll take anything. Friday brought another 0.19". That means the total for the current water year, which began October 1, now stands at 0.38".  But things will really  change on Sunday, October 24, when an atmosperic river, possibly category 5 (the strongest), will bring as much as 5 inches of rain in one day. As described in this SFGATE article , an atmospheric river is a “river of water vapor in the sky” that is “300 to 400 miles wide on average and maybe 500 to 1,000 miles long.” It can transport “25 times the water in the Mississippi River as vapor.”  All of that sounds impressive, but also a bit frightening because of the potential for flooding. If we were to get 5" of rain tomorrow, that would be a full two

Agave parrasana flower stalk comes down

Image
Agave parrasana  in the long sidewalk bed is done blooming, and the main rosette is at the end of its life cycle. With the flower stalk leaning towards the street and a chance of rain in the forecast, I decided to do the prudent thing and remove it, lest wet and soft soil combined with gravity causes the dead carcass to uproot itself. Since I have no need for any of the seeds, there was no advantage in waiting any longer. As the plant starts dying after flowering, the chloroplasts—the cellular structures that contain chlorophyll—start to break down, causing the red pigments in the cells to become more visible. This  Agave parrasana wasn't as colorful as others I've seen (especially Agave montana ), but the leaves and flower stalk showed some pinks and reds: While some cultivated forms of  Agave parrasana  offset heavily (especially 'Meat Claw'), the species is typically solitary in the wild or produces just a few pups. On our specimen, one large pup was visible in the f

Weekend Warriors Я Us, 10/17/21

Image
Another week and weekend without rain. Isolated cells dropped some H₂O near us, but our part of Davis remained dry. However, downtown Sacramento's record of 212 consecutive days without measurable precipitation was broken, and that counts for something. A sunny and mild weekend meant I was able to get work done in relative comfort. Project #1 involved relocating the plant producing the mass of strappy green leaves you see in the photo below: Drimia maritima  (green leaves) and  Euphorbia characias  'Tasmanian Tiger' The wavy leaves belong to Drimia maritima , commonly known as giant sea squill, a bulb native to the Mediterranean basin. Its leaves emerge in the fall and die back in late spring. In mid-summer, it produces tall inflorescences with masses of small white flowers ( see photo here taken at the UC Davis Arboretum).  I don't know if Drimia maritima  is the largest bulb in the plant world, but it's got to be close. According to Wikipedia , Drimia maritima bu