Saturday, September 5, 2009

Uphill Battle

OK, I'm back. I ended up without a secure internet connection since Thursday evening.

I made it to Truckee for the first time since late June. I guess the local PUD had a water main blow in my neighborhood, and while they were at it, why not turn the electricity off for the afternoon! My broadband will be back up next time I visit...I was looking forward to getting a line wet, but it was just too windy to do any comfortable trout fishing.

This morning I spoke with SisterSweetly in Humboldt County. She said it was raining, and nobody was catching any Ocean Salmon. I think she said the Fish Counter Person said "about a 1% success rate so far". It's a tiny almost after-thought salmon season...a bone thrown to sport fishermen to keep us "in the game" Fishing License Sales Tanked in 2009! That's a tale for another time and place.

Finding fish in the ocean takes some work, salmon especially. In "normal" years, salmon fishermen find the fish in the first few weeks of the season, and then the stocks are followed through the season day by day. When the whole season is only ten days, it might take all of the season to locate the fish. Throw in the salmon closure last year, and intel as well as methods will be lacking...count on it.

Looking at this problem, I see the parallels to my own intel gathering faux pas, owing to my missing my last few annual Baja Trips. A bigger part of intelligence gathering than I thought is practice.

Yearly variations in ocean conditions, solar activity, even the hiring and firing at the local NWS Forecast Office all have effects on the quality of the forecasts. Paying attention for the duration is the only way to "get a handle" on the quality of the products that NWS provides to us End Users.

Talking with my neighbors at home, they were puzzled by this Summer's Sierra Weather, too.
We had the requisite conversation about the up-coming winter's weather, and I had to admit "I've never seen Four dry winters in a row..." That better not come back to haunt me...again.

Mrs Neighbor related her summer's long battle with the rodent neighbors, who apparently have really stepped up their pinecone gathering to Apocalyptical Levels. It was a variation of the "Wooly Worm Proxy" theory. No mention of onion skins was offered...I knew when I got home and saw Mrs Neighbor's garden looking like a WW2 Invasion Beach, covered with poultry wire instead of barb wire, that she was in a death match with the local ground squirrel battalions.

Friday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours knockin' around Donner Summit, but there's no evidence of an Early Frost. The first hard frost can happen any day of the year up there, and many times over the years, some leaves have started to turn color in early September. Not even close so far in 2009

Thursday afternoon, I was doing some errands around the Inland Valley, before heading up the Hill. I crossed a blacktop parking lot between the Hardware Store and the Drug Store. It was about 3PM, there were two kinds of clouds overhead, thin wispy cirrus and some lower hanging cumulus. The sky just looked tropical. The humidity was uphill of 50%, and it was 90F anyway...had I smelled BBQ smoke, I could have closed my eyes and thought I was in Baja. It felt down right Tropical. I'm pretty sure the moisture was the remnants of Tropical Storm Ignacio, brought ashore by that big Gulf of Alaska low pressure system, that's raining on SisterSweetly's Humboldt County world.

Passing Donner Lake on my way downhill today, that system had whipped up the lake from one end to the other. Lots of white caps, sailor's weather...the weekend kayakers were hating it! Looking at the satellite makes me think I'd better wrap up my outside projects soon.

Back in the late 80's or early 90's we got three feet of snow in late September! Boy, there were sure some excited folks up there. If memory serves, we had a garden variety winter season...not too big, not too small, I don't think we turned any chairlifts until after Thanksgiving, and the heavy stuff waited until mid-December to finally arrive.

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