Dude! Where's my vines...?
It's been raining so hard it's difficult to see the vines planted out past the tractor shed...
To date, I've recorded more than half the average year's 32 inches of rainfall, and we've not even into the "traditional" wet season yet which usually runs from January to March. I stand at 17" so far in my rain gauge, and that is only from 1st November to present...
This could get rather nasty!
Currently the NOAA/NWS has issued ~
...A FLOOD WARNING IS IN EFFECT WEDNESDAY FORTHE UPPER RUSSIAN RIVER AT HEALDSBURG. A FLOOD WATCH IS CURRENTLY IN EFFECT WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR THE LOWER RUSSIANRIVER AT GUERNEVILLE AND THE UPPER NAPA RIVER AT ST HELENA.
ALSO OF CONCERN IS THE NAPA CREEK IN THE CITY OF NAPA WHERE THREE INCHES OF RAIN IN A FEW HOURS WILL CAUSE FLOODING AS WELL.
HEAVY RAIN WILL MOVE INTO THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS LATER THIS MORNING AND CAUSE FLOODING AND POSSIBLE MUDSLIDES.
* ONE TO TWO INCHES OF RAIN HAS FALLEN ACROSS THE NORTH BAY COUNTIES DURING THE PAST 12 HOURS. AN ADDITIONAL 2 TO 4 INCHES OF RAIN IS FORECAST THROUGH MIDDAY WEDNESDAY...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS IF THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOP EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* THE GROUND IS ALREADY SATURATED AND SMALL STREAMS AND CREEKS HAVE BEGUN TO RISE. ADDITIONAL HEAVY RAIN WILL RAPIDLY RUN OFF AND RESULT IN POSSIBLE FLASH FLOODING. THE PERIOD OF HEAVIEST RAIN AND GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING IS FROM 4 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING UNTIL 10 AM WEDNESDAY MORNING.
So, what's this all mean to a grower?...and how will it affect next year?
Hard to say exactly what it'll mean for the coming growing season, it's just way too early to predict anything there...
From the viewpoint of a grower - if you haven't pruned the vines already, you're probably not going to be able to get a crew out into the vineyard for a few months due to the saturated conditions. I'm planning on a late pruning, say maybe the end of February if we don't have a few weeks of dry weather to keep the mud down.
That could extend to the very earliest of March if the weather doesn't cooperate...
Mind you the considerations at this point are twofold - one, that you don't have workers literally stuck knee deep in mud, and two, that you don't cause excess erosion by having people breaking up the soil when it's as wet as it is right now. Certainly any disturbances you create right now will lead to more of your topsoil being carried off by the rainfall into the local streams and rivers.
As a side note, the storm which is off the coast right now is producing some BIG waves and swells - swells reported as 18'~21' (6~8m) and almost 30 seconds apart (that means really powerful)...add another wind generated wave of 7'~9' (2~3m) and you've got yourself waves of almost 30' (10m)!!!
Last time I remember something like that happening it was back in 1986, a year when there was record flooding on the Russian & Napa rivers from the massive storms.