On July 18 and 19, Southern California received a whopper of a tropical storm, and our part of San Diego County got more rain than anywhere. Our yard took in 1.65 inches, but a few miles down the road 4.1 inches fell during those 48 hours, according to the National Weather Service. That is way beyond previous records.

The average rainfall for the entire month of July is only 0.12 inches. So even our yard got more than ten times the monthly average over those two days. More than that, the average rainfall for the entire summer (June, July, and August) is only 0.4 inches. So in two days our yard got four times the average rainfall for the entire summer season.

The 530-gallon rain tank overflowed. Of course, every trash can I set up under other roof downspouts overflowed.

It’s a reminder that a real winter may be on the way. The National Weather Service just issued a video titled “El Nino update and Winter Outlook 2015-2016.” The warming of the equatorial waters continue and the result could be above normal precipitation, it says.

I mentioned this to my neighbor as we surveyed the erosion the rain had caused to our dirt road. Bob said, “You should’ve seen it in the last El Nino. Was it ’93? It was just flooded.” He pointed down to his property. “We get it worse than you.”

Bob’s yard is downslope, and it gets runoff from the road and properties upslope like ours.

“There were so many frogs that year that I had trouble sleeping.”

And so my thoughts turn to preparing for winter, for the real rain. I’ve decided to add a second tank, 865 gallons in size, to the southeast corner of the house. I also plan to cut curbs along the driveway to infiltrate that runoff and lessen the burden on neighbors below us like Bob.

El Nino is here, and the rain is likely on the way. But even if it doesn’t end up pouring down biblical waters on us this winter, there will be a wet year at some point — maybe next year, or the year after that — and I will be ready.

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