Happy New Year, friends. I hope you all arrived safely in 2023. Please excuse the late New Year’s greeting. I have no idea how we’re almost halfway through January already, but here we are.
We had a little bit of a wild start into the new year. California was hit with an atmospheric river, which is basically a series of bomb cyclones that bring waves of wind and lots of rain. In drought-stricken California, we usually take whatever precipitation we can get, but of course, we also can’t handle too much water all at once either. There are not enough reservoirs, and the soil gets saturated so fast that it causes major flooding issues.
New Year’s Eve was pretty stormy and it rained nonstop. We stayed in and celebrated the New Year from the couch (yes, we did make it until midnight).
As always, I tried to start the new year on the “right foot”, literally, by getting my first few running miles of 2023 under my belt. The rain had stopped in the morning, thank goodness, and I got out for a (scheduled) 7-mile training run. I ran through our neighborhood and determined that the storm couldn’t have been that bad. There were some downed branches and lots of debris, but I didn’t see any major impacts… until I listened to the news and heard that there was severe flooding in South Sacramento, Highway 99 was partially flooded and three people drowned. Ugh.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
The next round of storms hit us last weekend. Saturday night was c-r-a-z-y. We’ve had our share of bad storms in the past, but I don’t think I have experienced this kind of wind. And our neighborhood – and really, ALL of California – suffered. At some point, I heard a loud noise and I was convinced it was thunder, but Jon said right away: that was a tree that came crashing down.
And he was right. When I stepped out the next morning for a run, there was a huge tree (just a few houses down on our street) that had fallen on the house across the street and completely ripped up the sidewalk (first picture). I saw multiple more downed trees on my run, some of which were blocking streets or had taken down powerlines.
Luckily, we never lost power, but many people did.
I also decided to run up to the American River to check on its water level. While the river is definitely visibly swollen, it’s not anywhere near the top of the levee (yet), which is good. They’ve done a decent amount of work along the levees in recent months, too. The American River joins the north-south running Sacramento river near downtown, and we do have a huge Yolo bypass floodplain that can be used to divert water away from the city! This is probably more than you wanted to know about flood control in the Sacramento area, but I find it fascinating how these things work.
I am sorry I talked about weather so much here, but it’s been on the forefront of everyone’s mind – not just around here, but pretty much everywhere in California. And while I know that we do need the rain (and associated snow pack in the Sierra Nevada), I am hoping that the storm cycle will let up and give us a moment to recover. Let’s all take a collective deep breath, shall we? Ok, good.
I want to emphasize that otherwise, we had a good start into the new year (really can’t complain!) and I am looking forward to what this new year will bring. I am looking forward to showing up here and strengthening our little community. Who’s with me?
And tell me, how was the start into the new year in your part of the world?