When the rain falls …
Is just as important as how much.
Holiday guide to the winter dry season
And there’s no better example than November rains. Last year it was Eta. This year it was the frontal storm that caught us by surprise. Or at least it caught me by surprise (as much as it was impossible to ignore as it slowly slogged through). Usually November is the gateway to the dry season: the start of the slow but steady descent into a state of less drenchedness (new word). In my book, November rains are as much wet season rains as they are dry season events for the reason that they have the effect of bumping the water table back up to a peak water state. November rains also have “staying power” because the regional evaporation machine is shutting down.
About the chart above. It’s plotted by replacing months into five major milestones (or inflection points) of winter dry season. They include (1) opening gate rains (Nov 1 – Nov 30), (2) cool season rains (Dec 1 – Feb 2), (3) green out rains (Feb 3 – Mar 22), (4) spring ebb rains (Mar 23 – May 15) and (5) start of wet season rains (May 16 – May 31).
Why those units and not months? Months are boring! And they also obscure the sub-seasons within the larger winter dry season whole. Dry season totals are not as important as when it falls. Last year’s Eta was the case in point. That November bounty (light blue bar) had staying power, but it didn’t save the swamp from descending into a spring drought. The taller green and yellow bars are the true drought-killing rains.