PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
915 AM MST TUE FEB 7 2006
…RECORD DRY CONDITIONS CONTINUE OVER NORTHERN ARIZONA…
FOR THE PERIOD OF SEPTEMBER 1ST 2005 THROUGH FEBRUARY 6TH 2006… FLAGSTAFF HAS RECEIVED ONLY 2.49 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION (INCLUDING MELTED SNOW). THIS NOW SURPASSES THE PREVIOUS DRIEST AMOUNT WHICH WAS SET IN THE 1950-1951 SEASON. THE 2005-2006 PERIOD NOW REPRESENTS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION EVER RECORDED FOR THAT PERIOD IN THE HISTORICAL RECORDS WHICH BEGAN IN 1898. … THE NORMAL SEASONAL SNOWFALL FOR THIS PERIOD SHOULD BE 56.0 INCHES. … WINSLOW HAS ONLY RECEIVED 17% (0.62″) OF THEIR NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE SEPT 1ST THROUGH FEB 6TH PERIOD.
I live northeast of Flagstaff and my weather is more similar to that of Winslow than Flagstaff. We havenâ€™t received one inch of precipitation at our house.
Two weeks ago I was getting a load of water and was watching hundreds of small blue birds checking frozen puddles. They were waiting for the ice to melt in puddles created from spilled water. Two robins were among the blue birds. There was a woman getting water who appeared to be in her seventies. I asked if she knew the name of the blue birds and she said she did not. She commented that this was the first time she had seen this species of bird and she had never seen robins in the area in January.
Iâ€™m noticing what I interpret to be signs of increasing stress among plants and animals. When we first moved to the land, Julie and I purchased a small tub to provide water for animals. At the time, our intention was to attract wildlife to be able to watch and photograph them. Now, my intention is to provide some water to alleviate stress during the drought.
When our septic system was installed, the backhoe uprooted but didnâ€™t harm a prickly pear cactus. I moved it to a safe position and left it lying on top of the ground for about two or three months. I planted the cactus near our house and it did well and bloomed last summer. Recently, I noticed something had been feeding on it but the damage was not serious. Last Saturday I saw the culprit â€“ a small chipmunk. I didnâ€™t do anything to protect the cactus because I figured the small animal needed food and moisture. A few days later I arrived home and the cactus was gone â€“ including the roots.
Recently, I have been seeing more antelope near the house. Interestingly, antelope will drink if water is available but can get their water from food. For so large an animal, thatâ€™s amazing to me.
Times are hard and will get more difficult. This will probably be a summer of numerous large forest and wild fires.
On a brighter side, Julie ordered a new bird feeder recently. The feeder fits into a window by our kitchen table and extends into the room. On the weekends, itâ€™s quite enjoyable to have breakfast while watching birds only two feet away on the other side of the one-way glass. Also, the small bird that is obsessed with her reflection is hilarious.
Life with nature is wonderful!
Yesterday, I posted the above on my personal blog. Later in the day I heard of a fire. I found the following in a news article
A terrible sign of the potential problems to come this summer, Arizona already has its first significant forest fire of the year. It’s called the February Fire, and it is burning north of Payson, Arizona. As of February 8, the February Fire has burned more than 1,200 acres. It is still burning actively.
One of the challenges of living off the grid is to be prepared, self-reliant, and not dependant on fire personnel arriving in time.
This photo of smoke from a Summer 2005 fire that was a few miles south of our house was taken in our back yard. Two weeks elapsed before this fire was extinguished. A second, smaller fire burned about five miles west of our house.