Posts Tagged ‘La Nina’

It was fixin’ to snow like a bitch, they warned us.


Just over three months ago, official government climatologists with the United States of America issued a full-blown La Niña winter advisory.


But, here it is, just about Christmas and I’m seeing a lot more bare ski slopes than oodles of fluffy, wonderful white pow, as the hardcore skiers and boarders call it. (The “pow” part, not so much with the “oodles of fluff” description.)


Even the small-town newspaper where I live headed a story on the subject with,

“A year after epic skiing, Tahoe is dry.”

(For the record, the slopes are sans snow; the lake has not dried up, at least yet.)

The story went on to say,

“By this time last year, more than 7 feet of snow had fallen.”


Wasn’t it just last month when I excitedly mentioned movies which extolled last year’s truly epic season, with almost 70 feet of dumpage? In other words, oodles and oodles of fluff on top of more fluff.


That is the stuff that dreams—and Warren Miller movies—are made of.


            attack of la nina poster


Imagine my disappointment with the headlines last week that read, “Winter Forecast: Cloudy,” when just three months ago it was (in essence), RUN FOR YOUR LIVES—or at least, to the nearest tropical beach—IT IS FIXIN’ TO SNOW LIKE A BITCH. (I did say, “in essence.”)


If this keeps going, we may be told to run for our lives, but for an entirely different reason. A late breaking news story on a local television channel is informing us that a wildfire is burning just west of Lake Tahoe.


When you get the largest state wildfire agency in the country reporting a brush or timber fire in the middle of winter, well, it can’t be a good sign for skiing or boarding.


Wha’ happened, you ask.


O.K…I asked.


Leave it to the gov’ment to razzle-dazzle us with a bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo—and graphs, and stuff—like,

“A negative Arctic oscillation, which pushed bitter northern cold into the United States, and a periodic cooling of the North Pacific, known as the negative phase of the Pacific decadal oscillation, which amplifies a La Niña effect.”

            There, see how simple...


But, they go on to use a little less nerd-alert meteorological language by telling us,

"It’s been a strange La Niña. [It] is tamer than last year.”

Ya think?!? I mean, if it goes much longer, my skiing will look like this:


            skiing on rocks


Of course, after a beer, or two, these weather dudes and dudettes will break it down in even simpler terms by telling us,

“The weather pattern’s been kind of screwy.”

Not surprisingly, they conclude that all of this is just one more sign of the impending doom that manmade climate change is harboring.


In other words…it’s all your fault.


Happy Hanukah and if I don’t catch you again before Sunday, have a Merry Christmas.

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Does the following headline get you as excited as it does me?


      She's baaaccckkkkk!


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION Alert System Status: La Niña Advisory


Surely, you haven’t forgotten what that meant when we heard the same thing about this time last year, have you?


Well, rather than repeat the often overused description of calling last winter epic, let me quote the official Ski Lake Tahoe website as to the significance of a La Niña Advisory,

“Lake Tahoe was named the ‘Snowiest Place on the Planet’ mid-season during a four-day storm that delivered over ten feet of fresh snow – the highest storm total in more than 40 years. The final seasonal snowfall totals in the Lake Tahoe area crested the 800 inch mark and base depths of more than 300 inches were reported.”


O.K. Who could argue if you called that epic?


How big was it?


Well, it was so big they filmed an entire movie devoted to The First Lady of Dumpage



Rumpleminze bottle

So, now that I have refreshed your memory, let me ask,

Are you ready to Rumple?”


Good, because here she comes, again.  It’s official.


The government of the United States of America has recently published an advisory stating,

La Niña is back.”


And here is the proof—if you happen to be a climatologist who studies the seasonal dynamic fluctuations of ocean temperature patterns across the globe and how it effects terrestrial weather conditions, or it other words, will it bless us once again with over 60 feet of powder:


      la nina 2011 map


Other than waxing my sticks and hitting BevMo to replenish my supply of 100 proof Rumpleminze schnapps, I do have one other important pre-season ritual.


No, it’s not getting serious about getting into physical conditioning. That would be like, well, it be would like work.


Rather, last week I headed downtown to view the latest Warren Miller offering, because nothing gets me stoked like watching world-class skiers flying down steep slopes that I would only be going down as a result of a massive error in navigation or extremely poor visibility, and at locations I cannot afford.


Yes, it can cost upwards of $10,000 for one week of heli-skiing and that is even above the reach of a world published travel writer such as myself.


If you’re like me, you can only pray that the Princess of Pow will actually make her presence felt this coming winter a little closer to home, say, up at Lake Tahoe.


2011 Ullr

To bolster our chances for ample powder, maybe we better cover our bases by lowering our head and also petition the Norse god of snow.


As you may recall from about this time last year, I headed up to The Church of the Perpetual Ringing Slots up at Lake Tahoe to urge Ullr to do his worst—which for us skiers and boarders would be his best.


La Niña or Ullr; to whom shall we extol our winter wishes of

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow


I think I’m going to have to lean towards the lady.


Did you look at the size of her…ah…um…well, everything?!?

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In referring to the torrential deluge of rain we have witnessed as of the last few days in Northern California, my older daughter said it much better than I ever could have,

“Holy moly schmoly!”

The following picture is of the local creek that runs behind our place. The flow is actually more than we get most of the summer and fall, when it is typically 100% dry. That’s mostly sand and gravel, not water you are looking at.

           I only wish it flowed like this all summer.


As early as last summer, the weather guessers predicted La Niña weather conditions for the coming winter—as in the one we are just wrapping up—that would manifest itself in early heavy precipitation, possibly followed by an extended period of not much more rain for the remainder of the winter.


Oh boy, were they wrong.


Well, we did get a whole bunch early in the season, which thrilled us skiers and snowboarders, to no end.


And we did get a stretch of awful nice weather, in which the lack of fresh powder was pretty damn awful.


But this weekend?!?…Again, in the words of my daughter,

“This isn’t even rain. It is a lake falling from the sky.”

The next picture is of the same creek taken pretty much standing in the same spot.



        Cache Creek Huffs Corner high water



You’re damn right, “holy moly schmoly!”

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