For travelers who check weather conditions, southern California can generally be counted on for dry and sunny weather at this time of year. On our drive from the Bay Area down to the desert, we passed through high wind, threatening rain, and an area damaged by a recent forest fire.
Well, we reminded ourselves, the weather would be sunny and dry when we reached the desert.
A few days of heavy rain followed. What has happened to our dry, arid desert? On the first good day after the rains, we ventured out for a walk at Araby wash. A wash is an area where water spills down from the mountains and rushes through the low desert. We headed for a trail on the levee built to hold back the floodwaters crossing Araby Road when it rains heavily. The many times we’ve walked on this trail, the desert has been bone-dry, and we’ve enjoyed seeing birds or spotting rabbits in the wash, not water.
We finally walked across the wash to discover that fast-moving water at the base of the mountain rushed by on the far side of the wash, not visible from the levee.
A day or two later more snow and rain came. The desert is greener than we’ve ever seen it, but the price to pay for us is that the warm sun has stayed hidden for more days than we’d like. Ah, well, a small price to pay to pull California out of its critical drought condition.