Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Storm

After the wave of birds, we got to see some impressive storm waves. Remnants of a typhoon came to the California coast this past Monday, bringing rain, wind and waves to the island. This is the first big storm of the season. For those of you unfamiliar with the climate of northern California, during the winter months it rains and then during the spring through fall it doesn't. And when I say it doesn't rain, I really mean it doesn't rain. Storms in October aren't unprecedented, but one of this magnitude is notable. On the mainland, areas up in the coastal mountains got gusts over 70 mph and over 10 in. of rain. One place even reported 21 in. of rain. Pretty insane. Out on the island we had sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts probably up to 50 mph and maybe 3-4 in. of rain. I wasn't really impressed by the wind and rain (there wasn't even any lightning), but the surface of the ocean was whipped up into a frenzy. The below shots are at East Landing, the place we usually launch a boat to move people and supplies to and from the island. Not that day.  Most of the weather we get comes from the northwest, so the fact that this storm came from the south made it that much more interesting.

The top of that rock is a good 30ft above the water

That's me behind the water spot

With the first major rain of the season comes the responsibility of cleaning the catchment pad.  This approximately half football field sized concrete slab catches rainwater that we collect in a big tank and eventually use for all our freshwater needs on the island.  During the spring and summer Western Gulls nest on the pad.  They are not tidy.  So to help out with collecting the water that we all use on the island, when the first rain comes the crew out here "cleans" the catchment pad.  This is not fun.  I had the pleasure of doing this last year, and was not looking forward to it when this storm was predicted.  In the end it wasn't as bad as last year, and we made the best of it, trying to have some fun.

Certain areas of the island funnel the wind, making it even stronger.  It's pretty amusing to lean into the wind, as you can see.

The storm prevented any new birds from finding the island and soaked the ones that were here.  We've been steadily losing birds (meaning they left the island) since then and are waiting for another wave of migrants.  It might not happen, but we still have hope.

1 comment:

JTz said...

Hey Mark, looks like scrubbing the catchment pad was pretty fun!