Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back On Track

I followed last weekend's High Sierra weather closely. From the distance here in the Inland Valley, it's easier than ever to have telepresence. The internet and webcams are truly amazing ideas.

I kept up with events on the ground and in the sky in order to follow the Red Flag Warnings through to their conclusion. Along the way, the Reno NWS Office issued some Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings.

Well, the warnings were good ones. Sunday's thunderstorms were vigorous to say the least! By the time the real gully-washers began, the Red Flag Warnings had expired...these were Super-Soakers.

Plenty of rain throughout the Greater Lake Tahoe Area, reported one inch hail in South Lake Tahoe, and an antique railroad derailment were all part of the fun.

Monday morning on the Armstrong and Getty Radio Show, Joe Getty related his experience getting caught with his family aboard, on Lake Tahoe in a 20ft boat when the squall hit. Joe's story was at once harrowing and hilarious. Big hail...quarter-size, Joe said, swells, waves, dark skies, and wind all played a role. I could see them in my mind's eye, huddled under the Bimini top, standing in ankle deep hail, soaked to the bone, shivering in 50F temps that had been up in the mid-70's just minutes before. Joe said the big hail frothed up the lake around them 'till it looked like a pot on a roiling boil.

Things settled down for the rest of the week, thankfully. It's been a cool week here in the Inland Valley, and in the Central Valley as well. Friday's KTVU Noon News did a story on July 2010-the warmest on record, then segued into the weatherdude citing California's cold July! The cold in South America in July was both record breaking and deadly...millions of river-dwelling fish, turtles, and dolphins perished during July's cold snap. The Noon News said Tahoe is warmer than the Bay Area today, and Reno's newspaper touts 100F degrees on tap for this weekend.

A couple other High Sierra News items caught my attention:

A seasonal State Park Employee died from hantavirus in Mono County.

Truckee's local paper updated the latest beetle problems in the High Sierra forests.

By my estimate, this is the third beetle problem I've seen since I moved to the mountains in the late 80's, lodgepole pine were under siege from their beetle. Much to my dismay, the mid-90's brought the beetle problem to my favorite White Pines. Now it's Fir Engraver Beetles...more natural cycles.

I really hated to see the White Pines get hit. These are kinda rare in the forest mix. The few that survived the building of the Transcontinental Railroad and the Comstock Lode, were too small for lumber then, and now are huge, stately lords of the forest, so a piece of Living History dies when the huge tree dies.

In other Natural Cycle News...the Sun has been very, very quiet since the little flare-up got solar geeks all fired up last week.

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