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The Journal of Precipitation

Having spent most of my life in Arizona, I never complain about rain.

Never, especially since I’ve occasionally varnished the truth in an effort to tell a skeptical world how dry it actually is around here. You may have read my warning about dust fires.

But I am getting a little worried about these webs between my toes. It has rained any number of times in the last few weeks.

It has not done that since the last time it did that, a dozen winters ago. Early in December, we actually heard a rancher friend say he had enough water in his stock tanks. I’d never heard that before.

I’m concerned for winter visitors, who come here seeking sunshine and warmth. So far, it has rained two of the four days in 2005. The first-time visitor could logically conclude that it rains half the time here.

At Safeway today, I saw a couple trying to pack groceries into a van with Massachusetts license plates, in a pouring rain. I remembered being lost in a downpour in Springfield a year and a half ago, and how that dimmed my view of Massachusetts. Heh-heh.

There are snowbirds who think we’re daft for calling the Hassayampa a river. Usually, it looks like a sand wash that God had left over when he finished making Baja California.

But not right now. The photo above was taken about noon today from the eastern shore of Hassyampa Sound. The photo to the left was taken a week ago from the bridge on U.S. 60 in downtown Wickenburg, where we locals gather once every two or three years just to see the river with water in it.

Miss Ellie has occasionally been skeptical of my stories, particularly the ones about the abrupt boundaries of Arizona storms. A cowboy can shoot his cuffs and wash his hands in an Arizona thundershower without getting his hat wet. I have seen a heavy rain stop precisely at the boundary fence between Arizona New Mexico–on the New Mexico side.

One of my favorite yarns is about the rancher who concluded his prayer for rain by asking, “And Lord, if you can’t send us a litle rain, please don’t let it rain over there on Babbitts’ place.”

This morning, Miss Ellie demanded that I look out the window. From the tone of her voice, I knew I’d better look. Sure enough, it was raining on one end of our back yard and not on the other.

Fortunately, it rained at the end of the yard where the rain gauge is located. The gauge says it has rained 1.725 inches in the last 28 hours and 7 minutes, but who’s counting?

Last 5 posts by Jim Cook

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