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A little tropical rain in January

We're worried about the rainfall we've received this winter.  So far, we're under seven inches total, which is behind the pace we need to be at to get to our annual average of 28 inches.  And we had a very warm, dry stretch from late December through mid-January with daytime highs reaching the upper 70s and nighttime lows in the mid-20s.  That's spectacular weather to live in, particularly when the rest of the country is suffering through record freezing temperatures and bitter winter storms, but each winter week that goes by without rain is roughly 4% of the 6-month season when we're supposed to be receiving the rain which will support the vines during the summer and fall.  We know that April is looming just a few months away, and we're unlikely to receive any significant rainfall once we get there.

So, for all these reasons, we were happy to see a break in the weather pattern and a series of minor storms make their way through the Central Coast.  Even better, yesterday's storm tapped into a reservoir of tropical moisture, which tends to produce our most substantial rainfalls in the winter.  As evidence of the tropical character of this weather pattern, our low yesterday was just 53 degrees, fully 15 degrees warmer than our normal winter lows.  With all the clouds, the high was just 57 degrees, and the four degree range the lowest that I can remember in the seven years I've lived in Paso Robles.

The weather report for Paso Robles is below.  Note how at Tablas Creek we've received nearly twice as much rain as the next highest level (the Templeton Gap) and three times as much as the weather stations further east.

Weather_summary_jan23

This last storm was useful for the vineyard but not dramatic, with nearly an inch yesterday and another two-tenths of an inch on both the 22nd and the 24th.  In a normal winter, this would be perfect (no wind, no erosion damage, steady gentle rain) but in a dry winter we'd been hoping for more.  We have two more days in this wet weather pattern, with tomorrow (Sunday, January 25th) showing the best chance for significant rain.  Another inch or so looks likely.  We'll happily take it, knowing that another ridge of high pressure is likely to keep more rain away well into February.

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