Seattle or the Sierras?

Last night I peered out my window and stared with fascination at a theater of a pristine night sky dancing with spots of light. For moment I felt like a character in Isaac Asimov's famous short story Nightfall, where inhabitants of a planet with three suns (and consequently no darkness) fear a coming eclipse because they might get a glimpse of those terrible, mythic creatures called "stars". I realized my confusion resulted from the weeks of greedy rain clouds dominating the skies day and night.

Although our friends in Portland and Oregon may be accustomed to weekly rain showers, I am quite happy to live in a place where the rain sleeps from May to October, where the word winter doesn't quite apply to the weather from November through March (winter and 70 degree days don't ring as synonyms for me), and where "winter" storms are polite enough to occur only a once or twice a month (and usually not on weekends) and have the courtesy to allow for at least a week of sunny weather in between their visits.

T.S. Eliot was right in calling April the cruelest month. The sun became an endangered species this past April and most of us who live in Yosemite began singing "rain, rain go away, come back some other day." What was the use of rain and snow in April? We couldn't ski since Badger Pass was closed and it only would delay Tuolumne opening for the season. No, we really couldn't think of one good reason for this month-long stretch of rain.

Mother Nature, however, had plenty of good reasons for making April a tribute to Seattle in the Sierras. According to the data on the California Department of Water Resources (a great site for weather enthusiasts, hikers and skiers at the precipitation from October to March was running at 85% of normal. After April that jumped to 99%. Akin to the Patriots winning the Superbowl in the last seconds of the game, Mother Nature raced into the endzone with a touchdown of weather when we least expected it: April's rainfall exceeded the average by 225%.