Ah, summer.

Wait a minute it’s January, right?

Okay.  You know those middle summer thunderstorms we get around here sometimes? Those ‘weather events’ offer a brief cooling respite during the dog days of summer.  It feels good, takes the edge off those hot days and a sure sign that fall is right around the corner.

But not this year.  Save for a piddly little storm in early October and a brief shower in December and of course last weekends gully washer, summer/fall/spring has decided to make California it’s vacation spot this winter.  Can you say near 70 degrees this week?  Break out the sun screen Mr. Winter and pull up a lawn chair.

We’re all used to mid-winter heat waves that we get in January and February.  Those are usually the respite, an offering from the weather gods for slogging through months of rain and pothole dodging.

In the space of a week, I covered a brush fire and a flood.  All in a springsummerfallwinter’s week of a photojournalists life.  Plus, I pulled a few ticks off my fire gear.  Nature seems to be thoroughly confused this year. If it had been windy on the Trinity Road brush fire, it would have climbed right up the grade and inflicted damage.

Matt Williams of the Kenwood Fire Department scrapes away hot spots on a two acre brush fire near Trinity Road in Glen Ellen, Tuesday Jan. 17, 2012. The lack of rain underscores the dry winter, which is about to change with several storms lined up in the Pacific. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012


After driving through floodwaters only to stall out, a woman is escorted to safety by Windsor firefighters, Monday Jan. 23, 2012 at Mark West Station Road and Starr Road. (Kent Porter / Kent Porter) 2012


Is this strangeness over?  According to the National Weather Service and the broad array of forecast tools used, most of California can expect that the big high pressure dome will settle back in for the next seven to ten days. With our water deficit growing by more than a two-tenths of an inch daily, we may be close to 10 inches in the hole by next week, negating recent rains.  In fact, the NWS’ Climate Prediction Center gives the Bay Area and Sonoma County a 60 percent chance of below average precip through Feb. 3.

Of course, it is winter.

-Kent Porter