Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Winter Sampler: Early Season Winter Storm in California, Freeze in Vermont

It's a beautiful, sunny, blustery day here in Addison County, Vermont.  However, tonight we are going to experience a taste of winter as temperatures are expected to dip into the high 20s.  I won't say more because I may have a post in a different blog about the subject... except that if you still have sensitive plants outside or remnant garden crops to pick, now is the time to do so.

Above: fall color near Ripton, Vermont last week.  This week's frost will speed up foliage color change at lower elevations of Vermont.

Meanwhile, a strong early-season winter storm is currently impacting all of California.  On average, the first rains generally come to southern California around Halloween, so this storm is a bit earlier.  Further north the rainy season starts earlier, but the storm has still been stronger than average, with several areas reporting more than an inch of rain.  The Sierras are getting early season snowfall.

The storm seems to be dousing much of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and Malibu, with over an inch of rain in the last 24 hours in much of these areas.  I expect the Los Angeles area will get much the same or a bit less.  Snow is possible in the mountains.  Here's a map of 24 hour rain totals in the area, but note that it updates automatically so if you click on this a few days after the storm, you should scroll to the bottom of the picture and select '7 day totals' (no other rainfall is likely in this area this week).

Because Southern California gets little or no rain over the summer, the first cold-season storm encounters filthy, oily roads.  The first storm creates VERY slippery conditions on roads, and also unfortunately washes a lot of pollution into local waterways and the ocean.  Rain barrels and rain gardens are especially useful in these conditions - the dry soil will soak up runoff if it gets a chance, and an inch of rain will usually completely fill any rain barrel.  If the rest of the fall is dry, you will need that water for your plants.

Click here for a radar loop of the storm thus far, if I get a chance I'll update later with one that will show later rain as well.

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