A Quick Opinion: Normal rainfall is welcome news

Flood waters drench an orchard following a strong Pacific rain storm on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Photo by Taylor Buley/Winters Express
Flood waters drench an orchard following a strong Pacific rain storm on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Photo by Taylor Buley/Winters Express

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charles R. Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

With a couple of nice storms, I’m looking forward to a normal rainy season. We have a relatively new weatherman, Joe Bristow, who took over reading the rain gauge from my father, about 10 years ago. I’m not sure how long my father reported the high and low temperatures along with measuring the rainfall, every day at 9 a.m. And, I mean every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for over 55 years. Joe has a ways to go to break the local record for longevity.

When Pop left town, he did have backup help reading the weather from Carmen Rubio or one of his kids, but it wasn’t often. When Joe the Weatherman takes a day off, he usually asked Sherri and me to fill in, or his son-in-law, Josh. It takes real commitment to be a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weatherman. We used to mail in monthly reports, but now it is all done on the Internet.

When they moved the weather station from behind the Express to Joe’s house, the Weather Service gave him a new rain gauge. I took the original brass rain gauge with me to the museum. When it started raining last year, I took it home and put it in my backyard. Joe’s house is about 1,000 yards from mine, so we compare rainfall from time to time. Usually, he gets a little more than me, but lately, I’ve been getting more, depending on which cloud opens up first.

Our annual rainfall is from July 1 through June 30 of each year. I usually start the Express rainfall contest before Thanksgiving, but sometimes time gets away from me. The new rainfall contest starts this week, and hopefully, the entry form is in this week’s paper (See Page A8). If you can’t find it, just write your name, address and guess on a piece of paper and mail it to Charley Wallace, 13 Russell Street, Winters, CA 95694 before the end of December.

Taylor will write a check for $100 to the closest guess, even adding an extra $25 if you are a subscriber. You can even make it a family affair, like the Barths, but only one entry per person. I’m working on getting other gifts for runners-up, but the real prize is bragging rights. My guess this year is 19.22 inches, which I’m hoping is a little low. I might add that I’ve never been close to winning, and Joe’s family can’t enter/win, either.

If you want to know what our recent rain has meant in ending the drought, just look to the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Last month they had 16 percent of normal, but after this latest storm, there is about 160 percent of normal for this time of the year. It will take a lot of rain, over several years to end our drought, but it could happen. Watch the Express for weekly and annual totals.

Don’t worry, we will be using Joe’s rain gauge for the contest. That way, if we disagree on the total rainfall, we will know whom to blame.

Take a walk in the rain, and have a good week.

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