In my last post, I wrote about how long-suffering California is having a good start to the water year as weather patterns have changed and so far, ample rainfall has fallen across the Golden State. A series of powerful storms this weekend and continuing this week has already caused flooding and widespread damage across parts of California. In Sacramento, Monday marked the first time in ten years that officials opened the Sacramento Weir to divert floodwaters to the Yolo Bypass and prevent further damage downstream. Strong winds also toppled the iconic Pioneer Cabin Tree, a hollowed-out sequoia large enough for cars to drive through. Further “atmospheric river” storms are expected to hit across the state as the week continues.
What a difference a year makes. In a series of posts that I authored in late 2015 and early 2016, I wrote about how the potential “Godzilla” El Niño had the possibility to wipe out at least some of the drought conditions, provided that the drought-relieving storms tracked in a direction that would hit California. Unfortunately for California, the “drought-busting” rains did not come to alleviate the drought. Instead, atmospheric conditions pushed storms largely to the north, providing a deluge to Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. In fact, Seattle recorded the wettest period from October 1 to March 1 on record, receiving 38.22 inches of rain during that time. Parts of northern California received decent amounts of rainfall, but the majority of the Central Valley and southern California remained dry. However, since then, weather patterns have changed in a way that may favor a wetter winter for California. Continue reading
We witnessed an amazing turn of events over the last week. At the time of publishing my Hydrowonk post last week, virtually every major poll had Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, some by a wide margin. Polls from major media groups, such as The Los Angeles Times for example, assumed that Clinton would win 352 electoral votes. Other polls projected that the Democrats had a very good chance of retaking the Senate. Instead, Donald Trump secured 290 electoral votes (at the time of publishing this post, Michigan still has not certified the final presidential results) by sweeping key swing states in the Midwest and flipping traditionally blue states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Harvard Business Review argues that relying on telephone calls to get accurate polling data is an outdated and inaccurate system now that most phones have caller ID, thus making it more likely that people will not pick up the phone for a pollster. Further, polls can tell you who a person may vote for, but it cannot guarantee that the person will make it to the polls on Election Day. But regardless of the causes for the very wrong polling data, Donald Trump now begins his transition as President-elect while retaining majorities in both the House and Senate. Continue reading
With Election Day upon us, are you getting voter fatigue? If so, you are not alone. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted between October 28th and November 1st, one question asked, “Has the 2016 campaign made you feel more excited, disgusted, or neither?” An overwhelming 82% of respondents said that the 2016 campaign cycle made them feel more “disgusted,” with only 13% saying the election made them feel more “excited.” Also, the poll is telling because only 3% were undecided by answering “neither.” Regardless of your political affiliation, this has been a long and divisive campaign cycle. We have witnessed much drama at the top of the ticket, from Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” to the multiple FBI reviews of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server. These issues as well as the in-fighting within the Republican Party which escalated when House Speaker Paul Ryan told fellow House Republicans in early October that he would spend the last month before the election “focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities” have distracted the American public from some of the real challenges that our nation faces. Continue reading