Earth Log

Earth Log: Anxiety, drought and barn owls

A farmer just called to say he thinks big rainfall will begin before Thanksgiving this year in California. He based his prediction on movements of barn owls. Don't ask. 

As I wrote Sunday, it's too early for anything more than worrying about the rain season ahead, but people have their own ideas. 

In that vein, I consulted The Old Farmer's Almanac. The almanac, which has been published since the 1790s, says this about California:

"Winter will be warmer than normal, with the coldest periods in late December and early to mid- and late February. Rainfall will be above normal in the north and below in the south. Mountain snows will be below normal, with the snowiest periods in early to mid-January and mid- to late February."

I decided I needed something a little more official. So I looked at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center and the latest November, December and January forecast. 

It called for elevated chances of above-average precipitation toward Southern California and 50-50 chance of average to the north. 

I'm sure readers can offer other ideas.

I remember going through some form of this hand-wringing in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the six-year drought. I’m not opposed to any of it if a rainy season starts promptly in early fall. I might even find myself scanning the sky for barn owls.

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