Wet sidewalk in Sacramento

How will social media reflect California's winter?

It’s no secret that Californians march to a different drummer. Having lived elsewhere in the United States and even in one foreign country I’ve been able to sometimes divorce myself from the thoughts and attitudes of a state I’ve called home much of my life.

I’m warning folks who spend a lot of time on social media to beware – if California gets significant rain and snow this season like it appears to be shaping up to deliver you’re going to be inundated with photos and stories about our weather.

Over the past several years we’ve been somewhat annoyed by East Coast and Midwest folks crying and complaining about the snow and ice during the winter months while we suffered all winter in 70-degree, cloudless days.

Inasmuch as Californians like to invent issues to complain about I’ve not heard one farmer this fall complain aloud about the late-summer rain and humidity that led to hull rot in a few almonds, caused issues with cotton growers at harvest and wreaked havoc on some processing tomatoes in parts of the San Joaquin Valley.

One picture I saw earlier this summer showed tomato plants submerged by a flash flood brought on by hurricane moisture that hit parts of the state. I’m sure that grower did not celebrate the loss of his crop.

Still, the late-summer rain that turned into autumn rain and snow is joyous for those of us who’ve suffered through several years of drought conditions that drained our reservoirs and led growers to remove orchards or simply watch them die.

The storms that brought rain and low-elevation snow to California ahead of Thanksgiving was certainly something to applaud. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes the 8-12 inches of snow in the Tahoe/Donner region to become 8-12 feet. Will we have another 50-foot winter like we’ve seen in season’s past in the Sierra? Time will tell.

We’ve got a lot to recover from when it comes to California’s drought. Aside from filling reservoirs – which can easily happen within a single season – soil profiles need filling and aquifers need replenishing. The saline soil conditions that caused almonds and other trees to suffer this year need flushing by adequate rain.

Let’s relish the optimistic signs we see.

Follow me on Twitter @ToddFitchette

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