Will El Niño Bring Rain Or Nada?

Stormy Skies Over Sonora

Photo by Tori James

Weather experts lining up the probabilities of a strong El Niño this winter bringing the Mother Lode much in the way of rain can’t really say how we’ll wind up, wet weather-wise, it turns out.

Specific-to-Sonora weather history that dates back to 1950 shows five strong El Niño events since then. Of them, three gave us 60 percent above normal precipitation. Over El Niño winters that occurred during 1958, 1973, 1983, 1992, and 1998, rainfall totals were all over the board. Kind of like the way I throw darts, unfortunately. For example, in 1992, we got 36 inches, which is about three-quarters of normal, precipitation-wise. In 1983, however, Sonora was soaked with over 88 inches of rain — which is 177 percent of average. The winter of 1973’s total of about 52 inches was just above average for the city.

So what have we learned here? Don’t challenge me to a dart match unless you plan to take cover, and keep up those drought-inspired rain dances but perhaps not too relentlessly! Weather nerds hankering for more a bit more data may click here.

Sharing Summer Colors

State Fair Mix Zinnias at Ironstone Winery

Photo by Tori James

Since moving to the Mother Lode full-time from the concrete jungle of southern California and joining the KKBN crew last fall, I’ve felt privileged by the peace and surrounding beauty of my new home. My husband and I joke that we drive to work through what seems like landscape paintings. Although the drought has made the “golden” summer hills a bit browner, there’s still plenty of summer color to appreciate. This past weekend, while entertaining dear friends who were kind enough to make our home a stop on their bound to be epic, 28-day Atlantic-to-Pacific-Coast-and-back tour, we visited Ironstone Vineyards, where the always impressive container garden displays continue to elicit oohs and aahs from the likes of visitors, local and otherwise. Even though it is clear that the gardeners have reduced watering, the colors were still popping. A huge half-wine barrel full of slightly thirsty “State Fair Mix” Zinnias, shared above, heads slightly bobbing, obviously caught both my fancy and the eye of my camera-phone — enjoy!