Much Ado About The Weather

By Bonnie J. Cardone

Much Ado About The Weather Much Ado About The Weather By Bonnie J. Cardone
Compared to most of the rest of the U.S., the weather in California is relatively benign. Perhaps that's why such a big deal has been made out of El NiNo. (Maybe it's been a big deal in your area, too.) Most of us have suffered more because of the dire predictions about this phenomenon than from its results. Those who believed all they read in the newspapers and saw on TV would have sandbagged their domiciles, bought and stored massive quantities of food and water and then hunkered down in their homes- in front of their TVs-to await catastrophe.

While most of us didn't go that far, many of us were still victims-in one way or another-of the El NiNo frenzy. My house is on high ground, so I don't need sandbags. I did, however, cancel off a dive trip because an "El NiNo driven storm" was expected. I wasn't alone. The trip, a special Christmas dive that includes a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, usually hosts 20 to 30 divers. It went out with only 12. One of these divers told me that on the morning of the trip people got up early (the boat leaves the dock at 7:00 am) and drove all the way down to San Pedro to drop off the food they had promised to bring. Then they went home. I didn't even get up. I figured one less pie wouldn't be missed. (It wasn't.)

A few days after the trip I spoke to one of the wise divers who went. She said they had a great time. The water was flat and calm in Descanso Bay on the leeside of Catalina, the sun came out for a little while and the trip home, while a little rough, could have been a lot worse. It was then that an El NiNo driven fog cleared from my brain. The diver's description of the most recent trip reminded me of those I have taken every December for 16 years. They have all been remarkably similar. The water in Descanso Bay has always been flat, the visibility on the wreck of the Valiant and in the marine park has always been excellent and the sun has always come out (albeit briefly in some years). I have always had a great time. I couldn't recall a bad trip-even during past El NiNos. The only way this year's trip differed from those of the past was in the number of people-me included-who didn't go. And we didn't go because we believed predictions of awful weather that never materialized.

One day a couple of weeks after that trip, Angelenos were expecting yet another "El NiNo driven storm." As I rode the elevator up to SDM offices, the talk, of course, was of the weather. Since we're on the 18th floor, there was a lot of time to talk. Just before he got off on his floor, one of my traveling companions asked, "Don't we always have storms in December? Why do they have to be 'El NiNo driven?'" Exactly. Weather happens, every day of the year, with or without El NiNo. And, even with the sophisticated satellite systems used today, quite a bit of it is still unpredictable.

This editorial is being written in December. By the time you read this in March, El NiNo may be a thing of the past, it might have flared up again or it might be expected to return in the near future. Whatever. While we can't ignore weather that might be dangerous, neither should we put our lives on hold because there's a possibility something might happen somewhere-there's always that possibility. Let's go diving!