Last year at about this time, the rivers were challenging the strength of our levees and across the community you could feel that “Honey, did we pay the flood insurance?” vibe. The American River, normally invisible from the levee top in Glenn Hall park, was suddenly right there, mere steps away, and on theHighway 80Â route into downtownÂ Sacramento appeared to be an island at the edge of the vast inland sea that was the Yolo Bypass.
This year? Bupkus.
You could ride a mountain bike across parts of the Yolo Bypass basin today, the Sacramento is content to sit in its channel and the American remainsÂ its normalÂ lurking presence off-stage at Glenn Hall park. Up in the Sierra, the reservoirs are nowhere near capacity, with the experts suggesting the rest of the water season will be “either above average or below average.”
With Chicken Ranch Slough meandering right behind my house, I’m perhaps more aware of flood risk than anyone outside River Park or the Pocket. After all, in the floods of the ’80s and ’90s, it was the creeks and sloughs that caused much of the problems, backing up like toilets when they couldn’t dump their run-off into the rampaging rivers. Needless to say, I sent off my flood insurance check to State Farm, although after Katrina I don’t have a lot of faith that insurance will help much after the 100-year flood we all know is comingÂ So likeÂ manyÂ Sacramentans, I watch the rivers, pray for the levees, am ready to run and hope for the best.
And in the dry years, I wish for just a little more of the wet stuff, aware that too little for too long is almost as big a problem as too much for a few days. But seems the wet stuff — or even a little of the white stuff — is on the way.