Tuesday, March 18, 2014

West Coast Shake-Up, Seismic Drought Over?

Lake Tahoe is not immune to quakes. We have 3 faults. A
major quake could trigger a seiche, as it did centuries ago.
By Cal Orey

As a California native, author of The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes, earthquake sensitive, and intuitive, I admit the recent shakers are no surprise. In my monthly Earth Changes column for Oracle 20/20 Magazine, January 2014 issue, my forecasts included the West Coast would rock and produce a major shaker, most likely in regions including Offshore NorCal, and SoCal (Greater Los Angeles). And that it is. (Worse, I discovered last night that I'm hardly alone in my California earthquake prediction.)

Last Monday night, I was a News Segment guest on Coast to Coast AM. I spoke to host George Noory about the 6.8 Offshore Northern California. This seismically active region shook and the quake was widely felt but no damage or injuries. Last night, I spoke about the shallow and widely felt quake in San Fernando Valley that hit yesterday morning on St. Patrick's Day before 6:30 AM. More than 9000 people reported to the USGS that they felt the sharp jolt that lasted at least 10 seconds. It occurred during the time of the Full Moon (believed to be a time when earthquakes can and do happen sometimes great shakers).

This Golden State wake-up call of quakes takes me back to 2005, mid June when we had a 7.2 and 6.7 Offshore NorCal; two strong quakes in SoCal--like a trigger effect. At the time, my book on quakes was in production and ready to be released in 2006. The publisher considered an earlier pub date, especially since I covered the Indian Ocean quake-tsunami(s) that happened on December 26, 2004. And the thing is, we too, in California are not immune to a big wave happening on our coastline. 

The Cascadia Subduction Zone could and has been the place where a 9.0 would be the place where a great quake may hit. And SoCal isn't off the map either. When I was doing a quake book tour down South I recall driving on the coastal highway and seeing the tsunami signs on the the side of the road. It is a reality.  

So we wait. Yesterday's morning quake and today's Offshore NorCal "aftershock" of 4.4 (I got a shakemail this a.m.) are cues that we Californians may be next in line for a significant earthquake in the upcoming days, weeks, or months. And it's time to get prepared. No, our state may not literally fall off into the Pacific Ocean, but fresh water flooding, landslides, devastation could happen when the next major earthquake rocks California, whether it is north or south. On a final note: A major earthquake could even happen at Lake Tahoe where I reside near three fault lines and a place where a big wave occurred centuries ago and changed the geography of the West Shore.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning with COFFEE!

Coffee Craze: Grounds for the Household

Healing Your Home Room By Room

Drinking coffee for its healing powers is healing, but did you know that you can use coffee for healing your personal environment, too? Welcome to the world of coffee uses in the home, another perk of the coffee tree. Before I entered Coffee World, I didn’t know coffee grounds were eco-friendly and something to use. But now I know the dark brown gritty grounds can be home friendly. Bless the little coffee grounds for their uses indoors and outdoors.
Use an abrasive Cleaner:  Use grounds as a scouring agent to tackle any greasy or dirty surface. It can also get rid of pungent odors from pans and your hands.
Go for a Deodorizing Buzz: Dry coffees (not soggy used ones) placed on a cookie sheet and put in an open container in your fridge or freezer can be an instant way to help absorb odors. Also, fill a sachet with dried grounds paired with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and place it in close drawers (be sure it’s baby and pet proof).
Living Room/Dining Room/Bedroom
Furniture Concealer: Coffee grounds can do away with smells and unsightly scratches on furniture, too. Steep grounds and apply the dark brew to wood furniture with a cloth. I tried this household treatment on an antique dark chest in my bedroom and it worked. I thought, “If coffee stains cups and coffeepots, it has to work on brown furniture.” And it did just that. Flavored coffees provide a nice aroma, unlike commercial types of cleaners with strong, undesirable scents.
Fireplace Dust Buster: Ever notice that when you clean out the ashes from the fireplace dust gets in your eyes and nose? You can control the dust by using wet ground on the cool ashes because they keep the dust down and not in the air. Note to self: Try to see if this method works.
Ant Repellent: In the mountains, I don’t see ants, but in the city I did. And it they weren’t in the kitchen they took over the bathroom especially around water. Rather than using a chemical spray, try using coffee grounds on the area thirsty ants got to. (Be sure kids, cats, and dogs are not around as the natural anteater does its job.)

Plant Fertilizer: Plants like acidic soils will like your coffee grounds. Use grounds on the top layer of soil, or mix them with potting soil before planting. I started dumping coffee grounds on the aspens in the front yard. It could have been the late-summer rain and/or the grounds that helped the trees perk up.
Compost: Grounds not only feed your plants and trees, but they can feed your compost bin (if you have one) also. Simply add compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags (yes, I have both) will also break down fast during composting, I still don’t do the compost dance, but it’s on my list of to-do changes and coffee grounds and filters will be included. I continue to sprinkle grounds on one wilted aspen in the front yard, but so far it’s not showing signs of being a coffee lover…
Insect Repellent: But tossing grounds on the deck, dirt, or sidewalks may have a faster effect. Again, it’s a risk to do this if you have indoor/outdoor dogs or cats, because you don’t want a sequel of the Ethiopian got herder’s dancing, frisky goats perked up by the caffeine in coffee.

5 Coffee Feng Shui Tips
Welcome your home sweet home to the art of feng shui—the ancient Chinese art of placement—with a twist of joe.  By putting stuff in the right spots in your kitchen and other rooms you can enhance the flow of positive energy and zap negative vibes, brings you good health, happiness—and even fortune.
·        Declutter Your Coffees. Rather than stuffing java beans all in one place, such as your pantry, I suggest storing it in a variety of places (including the freezer, and concealed containers in the fridge).  It works and keeps your kitchen clutter free.
·        Use Coffee Art. Framed coffee prints can give your kitchen a nice, visual effect, especially if they boast Mediterranean colors: read, brown, gold, and blue.
·        Flaunt Coffee Companions. Glass canisters filled with from biscotti to coffee candy look warm and inviting and are your friends whenever you decide to brew a cup of java.
·        Brighten up with Lighting. Enjoy earthy coffee colors from a tan, light coffee on wood paneling. Fresh white curtains will lighten up the room and your energy.
Scent It Up: Coffee candles made with different aromas (like café au lait and hazelnut) will warm up your kitchen and linger from room to room.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Honey Bee-autiful: The Healing Powers of Honey

Honey Bee-autiful
If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.
--Abraham Lincoln 

A few years later, after nesting in San Jose, like a forager bee I found a new home in Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz Mountains, California. It was an Emily Dickenson-type setting. On the San Lorenzo river, complete with redwoods and oak trees, and wildflowers—honey bees and I lived in harmony. A typical Tuesday and Thursday would be leaving my young furry children—like bee larvae to me—while I traveled to San Francisco State University. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and weekends were heavenly—a queen bee’s existence.
One spring day, after a swim in the river with my two dogs (I had adopted another Labrador retriever); I combined a honey and vegetable oil hair conditioner and massaged the mixture on my long, curly dry locks. Thirty minutes later, I rinsed the goo and shampooed. I dried my hair in the sun. My mane felt soft and silky. I felt like a natural woman again without insect fuzz.

I’m hardly alone in discovering beauty benefits of honey and its versatile healing powers from head to toe. Since honey is a natural preservative and antibacterial agent, it protects and promotes moisture in the skin—which I, too have experienced.  What’s more, it’s a humectant (an ingredient that holds moisture), something I’ve used in hair conditioners to help tame my curly mane the same way humidity does in the Deep South or Hawaii.
Eating honey can help you get beautiful on the inside, but treating your body on the outside with the golden nectar can make you look and feel great, too. And honey—natural stuff in the jar to ready-made honey products are making a buzz from present-day and have roots from ancient times. 

It’s no beauty secret that honey combined with other natural ingredients can enhance your blood circulation, zaps stress and anxiety, and makes your skin feel silky. All-natural manuka honey, for one, teamed with other honeys and natural plant extracts and essential oils can help exfoliate, soften, and even make your skin look firmer and glow. And this is why some spas around the nation and world include honey in their spa treatments.  Here, take a look at some of the popular ones.

Milk and Honey Bath
 The treatment begins with a honey scrub, followed by a warm bath filled with milk and honey, and culminates with a light massage. This is a double delight—because it exfoliates and moisturizes the total body.
Manuka Honey Drizzle Body Masque
  The spa technician will use bare hands or a spa brush, apply approximately ½-1 full cup of product to your skin, from the shoulders down to the feet. It will remain on your skin for about 10 minutes before rinsing with a shower.
Orange Blossom & Body Wrap
  Enjoy the healing hydrating and conditioning properties of a honey wrap. Treatment begins with an exfoliating full-body dry brushing, includes an invigorating Orange Blossom & Sugar Cane Sugar foot scrub and concludes with a yummy application of Honey-Orange Blossom Body Butter. 50 minutes.
Manuka Honey Drizzle Pedicure
   Savor the pampering of a professional pedicure. Treatment begins with  you soaking your feet for 5-10 minutes in a Manuka Honey Drizzle product into a basin of warm water. After, a pedicure and polish will accentuate the softness of your feet.

 Do it yourself products make it possible and easy to enjoy the spa benefits in the comfort of your home. And more people—both men and women—are discovering the beauty benefits of honey, whether it’s straight from the hive or comes in a glass jar. Here, take a look at some of the at-home treatments I tried from head to toe, and you’ll be thanking honey bees forever.
Honey Eye Nourisher:  One of the best things I did one morning was whip up an anti-puffy eye cream with 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 2 teaspoons cucumber, peeled with seeds removed, ½ teaspoon chamomile tea, 1 teaspoon honey. After steeping chamomile tea, in boiling water I set it aside to cool. In my blender on a low setting I combined cucumber, aloe vera and honey, added chamomile tea, and whizzed it till smooth. I put the honey goo under my eyes using fingers. Ten minutes later, I looked like I wasn’t a worker bee.
Honey Mask: Curious and delighted, I didn’t stop there. I grabbed a small bowl and combined 2 tablespoons honey and 2 teaspoons milk.  I slathered the mixture over my face and throat. Ten minutes later, with warm water I rinsed off the concoction. My skin was soft not fuzzy like a honey bee’s legs.
Honey Skin Lotion:  On a honey beautifying roll, I whipped up 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. I used it on my hands and felt like I was ready for a much-needed manicure. But authors on deadline don’t get such sweet treats.
Honey Lemon Body Wash:  The next morning, I went to the bathroom like a bee goes to honeycomb and prepared a honey soap of 2 cups unscented castile soap, 2 cups honey, and ½ cup lemon juice—and put it in a plastic bottle and shook it. In the shower rather than using ready-made honey soap, I used a loofah and washed my body and rinsed. Extra benefit, I got to feel my skin soft and watch CNN right after without fleeing to a spa.
Honey Eucalyptus Foot Soak:  That night, the favorite thing I did for the day was blend 8 cups hot water, 1 cup honey, 2 cups Epsom salt, 2 tablespoons almond oil,6 drops eucalyptus oil—and soaked my feet with it. Fifteen minutes later, my feet looked human again.
Both spa treatments and do-it-yourself action works for me. But it doesn’t stop there, especially for bold and beautiful people. Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, for one, is noted to using bee venom—a natural facelift remedy. It’s been tagged as “the botox alternative”—combining bee venom, manuka honey and shea butter, and promises to minimize wrinkles.

Whatever season or wherever you live, a honey will rejuvenate your body from head to toe and you’ll feel good both inside and outside.

Cleopatra’s Famous Honey and Milk Baths
Back in the day of Cleopatra, the legendary Queen of Egypt savored honey and its beauty powers. The queen allegedly turned to the nectar of the gods for a facial each morning. Milk and honey baths were also part of her beauty regime. The idea was that honey was the golden secret to keeping her skin soft as well as defying age.
In the 21st century royal honey beauty treatments have carried over to spas that cater to the rich and famous and include anyone who wants to be treated like royalty for a spa day or week. It’s a pampering honey and milk beauty treatment, like the recipe below from Savannah Bee Company that draws the healing powers to both women and men, thanks to Cleopatra.
Milk and Honey Facial Mask
2 tablespoons organic milk
1 tablespoon Savannah Bee Company Wildflower Honey
Plastic wrap or warm face cloth

Directions:  Take the plastic wrap and cut the corners to make an oval slightly larger than your face. Cut openings for nostrils and mouth. After you make the mask and apply it, you’ll be covering your face with the plastic wrap for about 10 minutes.  Add milk to a small bowl. Slowly stir in honey. Mix well and stir until moisture is smooth. It may be slightly runny. Apply the milk mixture to your face with your fingertips. Set timer for 10 minutes. Put on some soothing music, lie down and cover face with plastic wrap or cloth. When the 10 minutes are up, wipe face with a warm cloth and rinse with cool water. Gently pat skin dry. Finish with your favorite moisturizer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Author's West Coast Quake Forecast After C2C AM Segment

Last night I was a News Segment guest tagged "author-earthquake sensitive" on Coast to Coast AM with host George Noory. I love being on the radio show but it's a bit like competing on Food Network's "Chopped"--you have a small amount of time to create words that must be plated to wow an audience. It's a challenge. There is so much I wanted to say, but so little time to say it. So here are several things I could have said but the clock was ticking so I didn't get a chance to "plate it" for a creative presentation.

1. The 6.8 Offshore Northern California earthquake hit in a region where it has had major quakes in the past. Actually, January 9, 2010 a 6.5 rocked the region and won me a 50 dollar earthquake bet with geologist Jim Berkland whom thought SoCal would shake first.

2. This earthquake hit in the vulnerable Cascadia subduction zone--a 680 mile long fault, that runs down the west coast of the the Pacific Northwest from northern California to Vancouver Island, and British Columbia...

3. Because of the huge fault area, the Cascadia subduction zone can create great earthquakes, magnitude 9.0 or greater, if a rupture occurred over its area.

On C2C I said I wouldn't bet my Aussie pup on
the "big
one" happening soon...the truth is, I wouldn't
wager my boy for anything!

4. We have been in a West Coast seismic drought so this major quake that "dodged a bullet" with little damage and  no injuries is a reminder that the "big one" is pending. Read: This shaker could have been a foreshock...back in 2005 almost 10 years ago, a 7.2 and 6.7 happened in this region during mid June.

5. ...History repeats itself when it comes to earthquakes. When the stored energy is released by slippage across the fault, the Cascadia subduction zone can produce a mega 9.0 earthquake as it did with the Cascadia one way, way back in 1700. 

6. Keep in mind, the 6.8 earthquake off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night was the strongest shaker on the West Coast since the 7.2 Baja California quake in 2010.

7. Sunday's temblor was followed by a series of more than a dozen aftershocks as large as a magnitude 4.6, according to the USGS. The surprise quake (despite I forecasted it to happen in 2014) hit at 10:18 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean 50 miles west of Eureka--a place countless earthquakes happen. It was a shallow one, less than 10 miles--which can trigger a big wave. Or not.

8. Sunday's earthquake did not cause devastating damage as did the 1964 Alaska great tremor that killed people in Crescent City, CA, due to the killer tsunami. Nor did the Northern California quake this month cause the damage of the 6.5 in January 2010 that snapped power lines, broke windows, and caused some injuries.  

9.  While the shaker was not earth-shattering, this seismically active region on the North Coast can be. It sits along the Mendocino Triple Junction, where three tectonic plates connect the Pacific, North American and Juan de Fuca. What's more, it's linked to the Grandfather San Andreas fault that can rock the state and is capable of causing the "big one".

10. The 6.8 (downgraded by the USGS, which I predicted it would be) was felt throughout Northern California, Southern Oregon, the San Francisco Bay Area and even in Reno, NV. Since the shaking on land nearest to the epicenter was light--no damage and once again this region "dodged a bullet"...

WEST COAST QUAKE FORECAST:  Currently, astrologically speaking, we are in Pisces (a sign of water) and edging into Aries (a sign of volcanic fire). This is a time more likely to spawn quakes with tsunamis and earthquakes in the Pacific Ring of Fire.  
I give 60% probability that a stronger earthquake than the March 9, 2014 6.8 Offshore NorCal shaker (with a tsunami alert or waves) in Alaska and/or Offshore Northern California (in the same region or perhaps south down to SF Bay Area offshore) will happen before May 2014. 

The Cascacia subduction zone is too quiet.  We are in a seismically active time period: In the past, great Earth changes happened in these two months--Japan March 11, 2011 quake-tsunamis, Alaska March 27, 1964 5 minute quake-tsunami, and April 1906 SF quake-fire occurred. The West Coast is overdue for a significant earthquake-tsunami and it could happen in the near future.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Author-Intuitive Forecasted Strong Calif. Shaker

By Cal Orey
My dog acted  clingy before 6.9 NorCal

Yesterday, I promised my two dogs that on Sunday, the first day of Daylight Savings, they'd have a fun dog day afternoon. And that they did. I'm talking long, long, long walk on trails; another romp at the park-beach; and back home for Frisbee and treadmill. I'm whooped and both senior and pup are dog-tired. It was a good pre-off season day at Lake Tahoe.

This morning I viewed the film The Impossible. It brought me back to 2005 when I penned The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes...covered The Big Wave (based on the December 26 2004 Indian Ocean Quake-Tsunami) and peoples' tales of survival. The movie was compelling. Since then, I do not like living so close to the deep, cold Lake. History tells it that we, too, had a seiche (big waves that were destructive on the West Shore) years ago and it could happen again after a powerful earthquake (we live near three fault lines). I spoke of this happening yesterday afternoon. Nobody believes me and tag me Debbie Downer. 
The lake could create a seiche after a quake

Ironically, I love, love water. I love swimming, am a devout swimmer, adored a hot tub (early in the morning at a resort pool), and even listening to the soothing sound of water pumps on my fish aquarium and watching new, healthy fish swim--and I will not give up my waterbed. But I don't like Mother Nature's wrath. Speaking of violence...

Last night Offshore NorCal rocked and rolled with a strong 6.9 earthquake. I forecasted a major (7.0+) quake would hit this region in 2014. It was felt throughout Northern CA and OR...No wonder my Brittany Simon was acting clingy for the past few days...anxiety/headache for me. We are earthquake sensitives as seen in MSNBC's article about us and others.
See Tahoe to the right,
folks felt the Earth move here, too! So I believe
my dog sensed the oncoming quake
My 2014 Earth Predictions article includes major eq for
Offshore NorCal

A Mixed Bag of Predictions for 2014
1. Earthquakes
* At least one major shaker is likely on the West Coast, including Alaska, Washington, on and Offshore Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and/or Greater Los Angeles as likely areas to rock.
(excerpt Earth Changes article Oracle 20/20 Magazine, January 2014 issue)

B-Day March 21, Aries, 5 yrs young; not sure 
he is seismically sensitive like my former
black cat Kerouac (vocal/paced before CA quakes)
On a lighter note, it's time to shake things up in the kitchen. This week it's Tea Scones for Saint Patrick's Day, and a special write up for Callie's Cabin What's Cookin' column. Tea scones won me over instead of green cupcakes or a double layer chocolate cake with shamrocks. This time around, I'm going to use different flour, different ingredients, and different teas--a staple in Ireland, a place where writers are respected. That reddish meat and cabbage doesn't sing out to me, but potatoes and carrots do. Lack of sleep is another story.

Getting used to Daylight Savings Switch. Not fun. Stayed up to 1 AM. Skyler pup, my one year old canine with boundless energy woke me up at 5 AM. Doesn't it work on dogs. No extra sleep here. Tuesday morning I will swim and try and get back into the swing of it all. I prefer longer nights, shorter days. It's more fun to play in the house during winter. But the word is, winter forgot Lake Tahoe. Still there is hope. Come fall/early winter 2014 El Nino may pay our Golden State a visit and remedy our drought. Meanwhile, the sun shines, it rained this morning--I'm sleep deprived despite the cup of java. Catnap time with Zen, the laid-back Siamese who gets going with the flow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Tribute to Algernon from an Author's Perspective

By Cal Orey
This morning when I was awakened by my Aussie pup Skye, I should have let him do his business, feed the dogs, and go back to bed all day. But that's not how my day played out.  Perhaps if I had done the 7:30 A.M. swim events would have been different. So, here is how my new morning from a good night's sleep progressed. I dedicate this blog post to Algernon, a lab mouse with a cause.
Don't kids read anymore? See reference below

First, when I brewed a cup of coffee to savor in the living room and enjoy my fish aquarium--that's when things tanked (pun intended). My hardy goldfish were weathering ick (a common but deadly parasite, often from stress) and there wasn't a sole survivor. Images of end hours of boat goers floating in the lethal sea viewed in the film Titantic or party people found on the boat in the movie Dead Calm haunted me all day.

Neighbor wishes I would take care of her as well as I do my dog

Next up. My senior Brittany, Simon was booked for a 5:00 P.M. vet appointment. A couple of days ago when I was cleaning his pendulous ears I found a tiny lump on the outer flap. I sensed it may be nothing but to get peace of mind we were going to our friendly vet. So, waiting for the verdict was like a cloud hanging over me all day.

The lighting must be hiding the red bumps on the skin; 
feel like a mouse on topical cream--will it work?

But like a trooper, I did hit the kitchen and put together a New Age Mac and Cheese dish for my weekly food newspaper column. And I was content that the editor for a monthly Earth Changes column I pen decided one of my reprints would suffice for the April issue. And I did market the Healing Powers series via social networking as I anticipate the publication of OLIVE OIL, NEW AND REVISED.  I await a new Healing Powers book assignment. And while waiting I drink a lot of tea to chill.

Then, my skin. On Monday, I was at the doctor's office. A rash, a rash.  I pondered, "Was I bit by a flesh eating mountain spider?" Staph?Where oh where did I pick it up? I am a clean freak with OCD. Nobody knows how or where I caught this infection. Memories of the sci-fi flicks Outbreak and Contagion feed my fears. But while I do know it itches and it burns I don't sense I'm going to be quarantined. I have been using a prescribed pricey antibiotic cream which seems to be working, sort of. But it stings. A lot.

On the upside, my beloved aging dog's lump was a tiny pimple and tended to...Why are we getting this pesky things, anyhow? New fish are in the tank. (On a side note, a lanky teen who didn't talk much at the fish store was  buying six white mice to feed his snake and it spooked me as well as made me feel sorry for the mice as they were plucked from a cozy cage and plopped into a take-out box like Chinese food. My eyes met one and my heart skipped a beat because I knew he knew his warm and fuzzy life as he knew it was going to soon change. The stoic snake guy didn't get my explicit and heartfelt literary reference to Flowers for Algernon. Poor mouse. Poor Charley. Poor kid. Didn't he read the classic in high school? 

That leads me to present moment. Skye sleeps. The drive to the vet, waiting for his canine pal, and pet store as well as Frisbee playing with me earlier fed his boundless energy. Tomorrow morning I will get up early (thanks to my pup's 5:00 A.M. wake-up calls) and write my food article.  And I will fantasize about swimming next week, hopefully when my skin is back to normal. Meanwhile, I can watch the new vibrant fish swim. I'm not certain I can be compassionate tonight working the psychic networks. Maybe it will be a slow night. 

Nah, the phone just rang. I hope it isn't another unrequited love call.  I will be tempted to dart "Get a dog or cat and move on." But I won't say it..."Hello, this is Intuitive Callie. I'm sensing you're a water sign and having romance woes, correct? Yes or no. Please stop crying...take a deep breath."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Intuitive Forecasted a Wild Winter...It's Not Over

Weathering a Wild Winter

Some of my January 2014 weather forecasts are coming true. I predicted climate chaos including extreme cold winter temperatures in United States. The Northeast, as noted, is enduring heavy snow as other non-snow regions are rudely being awakened by odd ice and snowstorms. During mid-February storms, there was news of “thundersnow” (a thunderstorm that creates snow instead of rain), but I left out the extreme drought in the West and didn’t pinpoint the South getting slammed by historical weather-related events—the worst storm in years.  So as U.S. is on a wild ride of catastrophic weather, how wild is it and how will it affect our food basket in the future?

West Coast Drought
For the past three years, California has been experiencing lack of precipitation also called an “extreme” drought and that spells lack of water for farmers’ crops and food for the nation. (Eleven Western states have declared disaster areas due to the dry spell.) Farmers are worried; and the Sierra Nevada region is not like it used to be.
As I live at Lake Tahoe, a well-known ski resort town, I’ve noticed how snow at lake level is something that seems nondescript and we are making man-made snow more than before as well as dealing with wet powder. Tourists are not as frequent as they were years ago when I moved here in 1999.
In February right before and during the Westminster Dog Show, we got rain and wet snow on the West Coast but it melted fast. No berms to see on the neighborhood streets or main highway 50. Merchants are getting less business from tourists because of less snow. And this month of February and last month, Spring Fever has hit. That means wearing T-shirts and jeans, raking pine needles, swimming at the resort pools, and walking the dogs on dry ground (no black ice) is part of our off winter season.  But there may be hope.

I Wish It Would Rain (Another Forecast)

On October 19 and January 24 via my blog I forecasted and envisioned that we would have a significant storm on the West Coast late January and February. Right on cue during the dog show in New York the storm came to the West Coast. Meteorologists, locals, and snow-loving folks waited for the snow count in the Sierra. It was only the second storm this winter season. On the upside, it rained a lot—day and night--with flood advisories. Streets were ponding. It was like a storm in late November or April at Lake Tahoe. This is abnormal. Blame it on the Pineapple Express (a heavy flow of atmospheric moisture and precipitation from Hawaii moving through the Pacific Ocean that creates warm storms).
The reports from the National Weather Service in Reno, noted we got as much as 2 to 3 feet of snow between 7,000 feet and 8,000 feet, while lake level areas received up to 6 inches — and rain (up to 3 inches that created ponding on streets and flood advisories). I felt like I was living in Northern California such as San Francisco.
While the storm was welcomed in California, it’s not nearly enough precipitation to save this dry winter and its effects. After the storm, I forecasted the West Coast, including the Pacific Northwest and California, may get up to five more storms in February and March (thanks to Pisces)—a “Miracle March” (a month when heavy snow has hit in the past) and that would help California, agree weather gurus. But at this time all we can do is pray for rain and snow as we wait for Mother Nature to pan out. And that’s not all.

Dust Bowl and the Breadbasket
With the 21st century Western states drought, images of the 1930’s John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath come to mind but ironically California is part of dry ground in the 21st century—not the land of milk and honey. The fact is, a large percentage of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even honey come from central California. The odds that you’ll be paying more for these products is a good bet,. The price of maintaining crops due to the water shortage will affect the costs of food in the future.  
An agriculture consultant in the San Joaquin Valley, California told me 2014 is the worst honey season in history in California. He explained, “With minimal water, there is minimal (or no) nectar in flowers, Crop yields suffer similarly.”Because honey bees pollinate our fruits, vegetables, and nuts prices will go up for these foods. The drought may also affect the price of organic beef, milk, and cheese.
Food prices not only will go up in California and the U.S. but throughout the world. Our Golden State is the “breadbasket” of America but we also export produce around the globe. If you haven’t seen the sci-fi film Soylent Green showing a time of depleted resources--it’s time. Meanwhile, the jury is still out until later this year for food experts and farmers to tally up and tell us how much the drought is going to take a toll on our pocketbooks because of not enough water.  Meanwhile, let's forget that tune “It Never Rains in Southern California” because it’s the time to sing “I Wish It Would Rain”.

2014 Epic Snowstorms Deep South, Northeast

I was spot-on with my Northeast weather forecast, but a miss with the southern states. A rare ice storm hit Atlanta, Georgia during the end of January. Images of countless cars stuck in gridlock were seen on TV and experienced by Southerners for hours. The off winter weather (that our West Coast ski resorts are used to and miss) caught the Deep South off guard.  The storm left motorists stranded, some left their vehicles  on the roads.

A second Georgia storm made the news mid-February and more headlines like “Ice storm causes deaths, power outages, and traffic jams in the South” hit the news. The storm put emergency response agencies in preparedness mode. But this time around, This time southerners stayed home and off the roads so the dire consequences were likely less than more. Still, reports rolling in stated more than 200,000 power outages in Georgia.

Yet, the Valentine’s Day Eve storm headed northbound. News headlines such “Storm Is Biggest Winter Blast to Hit the Northeast” and “Nor’easter to Hammer DC, Philly, NYC and Boston” spread in newspapers and on TV. The snowstorm slammed the Carolinas (at least 300,000 people without power), leaving thousands coping with dangerous icy roads, countless delayed near 10,000 flights, fallen trees and power lines as well as one million without power.   One third of Americans were affected as the storm headed up the East Coast. In result, the teeter-totter weather—epic snow in the South and North and a drought in the West is mega news that won’t be forgotten.

Excerpts from article by Cal Orey in March issue Oracle 20/20 Magazine