It boggles the mind to think that the Colorado River has been shut down for rafting. Can you imagine if water delivery was shutdown?
Imagine if the tap was turned off to California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. We aren’t there yet, but the situation inched a bit closer in August when the Bureau of Reclamation announced they would be reducing releases from Lake Powell to Lake Mead to historically low levels. Take a look at the astonishing photos on the Weather.Com website, especially photos 14 and 15 in the slide show series, if you want to understand the magnitude of the situation.
We had a severe drought last in 2002; back then researchers were starting to understand that the West has seen mega-droughts before. If you believe that history can illuminate the present, you might want to read Craig Child’s book, House of Rain, as he takes us on a journey through pre-history on the Colorado plateau to explore some possible answers to the fate of the people who lived here before us and how long-term droughts changed their lives forever. It’s a sobering story.
A friend who works at JPL clued me in to a website hosting live webcams the USGS has installed at real-time stream-gaging sites around the state, which is even cooler than the graphs I showed you in my post Is It Raining Now? The California Water Science Center currently hosts thirteen webcams around the state, including the Ventura River, Malibu Creek, and Arroyo Seco near Pasadena.
You can even control the webcams, selecting from pre-set views or creating your own, and other images are available, like this one showing flood stage flows in the Arroyo Seco.
The prettiest view has got to be San Pedro Creek near Goleta, which shows a lovely waterfall.
Let me know if you’ve found other webcams allowing us to monitor special places in the watershed.
It’s raining, and with the rain brings the usual mixed feelings (oh boy we need the rain but oh no the traffic is going to be bad) colored by the very real dangers from mud and debris flows in the watersheds burned by the recent fires. The web makes it easy to keep track of weather, but what if you want more specific information? Here are some lesser known web resources to track local rainfall. Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has numerous rain gauges throughout the basin and their site allows you to track rainfall County-wide. Another one of my favorites is the USGS stream gaging stations. You can search by the specific stream gauge number (e.g., Arroyo Seco near Pasadena is #11098000) or click on the map to get real time, hour by hour data. Here is an example of the graph you will see, from the station in the Arroyo Seco.
The final resource I found is a little less useful here in the Los Angeles Basin because there are fewer stations: California Irrigation Management Information System, in the State Department of Water Resources. You have to set up a log in, but once in you can view a variety of weather-oriented information.