Sunday, February 1, 2015

A rainy day in Loreto Bay

It has been unusually overcast this past week, culminating in a fairly heavy overnight rain shower late in the week.  Different than the tropical storms last Fall, which were usually accompanied by strong winds, this was a steady, but gentle, soaking rain that went on a good part of the overnight hours. 

I was awakened by the rain in the early morning hours and listened to off and on as I drifted in and out of sleep during the rest of the night.  That in itself, I was thinking, is unusual – I am not a particularly light sleeper and to be wakened by the steady sound of rain without wind, in a closed room, is perhaps an indication of how much I have become accustomed to the climate here, such that a rain shower at this time of year is enough to waken me.

However unusual this amount of rain is at this time of year, it is worth noting that this was the week of “Snowmageddon” in many parts of the US, with record snowfalls of up to 3 feet in some places, which perhaps puts our unusual rain in perspective. As extreme weather affects all us more frequently (it was colder in parts of the US Southwest recently than is was in Western Canada for a few days recently) down here as we are getting used to the fact that as a contiguous part of the continent, we too are going to feel some effect from these weather extremes here in the Baja as well.

It continued to rain after I got up, got ready for the day, while I was having my breakfast, and it was still raining steadily as I left for the Office, but my normal routine was altered somewhat when I realized that I needed a towel to dry off the Golf Cart seats before I could begin my morning commute.  Leaving my cluster of homes I headed out onto the Paseo, crossing on the elevated “tope”, which I noticed was acting as a partial dam on the rainwater flowing down the street, something I hadn’t seen since the tropical storm that passed through the first week I was back here in September.  Because there are no “storm drains” in the desert, our sidewalk paths and streets tend to collect the rainfall and its runoff and provide runoff drainage for the Development. 

I also thought about the affect this sort of rain will have on the vegetation.  Here in Loreto Bay the many acres of our common area landscaping is all watered by a carefully monitored drip irrigation system to control the significant water consumption costs, and hours of steady soaking rain represents a considerable bonus to the normal ration.  But the impact of this rain on the natural vegetation in the surrounding area is even more significant, particularly coming at this time of year almost mid-year with more than six dry months ahead before we would normally expect our next heavy rains.    

I have previously commented on the heavier than usual rains we have had over the past three years – more than double the historic levels – and it has been my observation that the shrubs and brush that covers the surrounding area around Loreto have grown noticeably over the same period of time.  The Mountain slopes in the distance are now staying mainly green year-round, while prior to the recent rainy years, they would “brown out” in the spring and stay that way until the fall rains – if we got rain at all.

I had also noticed from my kitchen window that the construction workers arriving to work in the morning with knit caps (or toques, as we used to call them in Canada) and bundled up in their warm jackets and fleece – these people don’t really have rain coats, because it rains here so seldom.  This point was brought home again later in the morning when I saw the maintenance workers who collect the trash wearing the big garbage bags they use - cut open to make ponchos to keep them dry while they worked. 

The rain did ease off mid-morning, and, except for a few strategic puddles, the streets and sidewalk paths dried out again, but going about my business during the day my impression was that there was a different feel in the community – it seemed quieter, and in some ways a “softer” sort of day.  The closest comparison I could come up with was it was somehow similar to the occasional “snow days” of my youth – back during the last ice age in Western Canada, when I grew up.

By mid-afternoon there were growing patches of blue in the sky and periods of bright sunshine, signaling that things were returning to our idyllic normal and when I consulted my default weather site ( , select locale with the airport code of LTO) I saw that after a couple of partly cloudy days this weekend, we are looking forward to a forecast of fully sunny days next week with temperatures ranging from the low to high 20’s Celsius – low to high 70’s Fahrenheit.

While this has admittedly been a “slow news” week, I hope that my rambling thoughts, inspired by nothing more than some overnight rain in January, will give you a small insight as to how in touch we are with our environment here, and how occasional variations from the normal can impact our day to day life as we are “Living Loreto”.

P.S. Further to last week's Blog about new businesses in Loreto Bay - Breaking News - I spoke to Pedro (the owner of the Delicatessen featured in the Blog) this weekend as I observed him moving all of the fixtures and freezers out of the small space where the store was located.  He told me that the closure was temporary and that he would be reopening around the corner in a new addition being built on the Pepegina's restaurant, details will follow!