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the News - Friday, NOVEMBER 19, 2004
There’s an old saying in weather forecasting: “Climate
is what to expect, and weather is what you get.” So how that translates
in figuring what Kaweah Country weather will be like during the current
rainy season is really just an educated guess.
Educated because nowadays there are plenty of computer-generated scientific
models accessible to anyone with Internet access. The key is trying figure
which one most closely approximates the current conditions.
With little or no rainfall in sight for the next seven to
10 days it might be difficult to believe that we are even in the early
stages of an El Nino. “El Nino,” named for the little Christ
child because prominent weather events of this type have occurred around
Christmas, means significantly wetter winters for California. In Three
Rivers, the biggest flood of the modern era occurred on Dec. 23, 1955;
the last El Nino season was 1997-98.
In Kaweah Country, other prominent El Nino seasons with above
average snow and rainfall occurred in 1915-16, 1937-38, 1949-50, 1965-66,
1969-70, 1983-84, and 1994-95.
El Nino episodes occur when warm Pacific Ocean currents move
eastward and are associated with four prominent changes in the wintertime
atmospheric flow across the eastern North Pacific and North America.
The first of these is an eastward extension and equator-ward
shift of the east Asian jet stream from the International Date Line to
the southeastern United States. The second is a more west-to-east flow
of the jet stream winds than normal across the U.S.
The third, and one that our area already has experienced
in the current season, is a southward shift of the storm track from the
northern part of the U.S. to the southern part. The fourth, and what causes
the more violent weather like the recent tornadoes in Tulare County, is
the main region of cyclone formation shifts south and eastward and parks
right off the California coast.
The atmospheric shift results in exceptionally stormy weather
and increased precipitation across California and the southern U.S., and
less stormy conditions across the northern tier of states and Canada.
The warmer flow generally means a milder than normal winter across the
northern U.S. and western Canada and a reduced flow of northerly winds
from Canada into the U.S.
The latest computer models suggest that the equatorial currents
will continue to warm but at more moderate rates, similar to the most
recent El Nino of 1997-1998. Those predictions could drastically change
between now and Jan. 1, 2005, based on temperature readings in the equatorial
Pacific that meteorologists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) are constantly monitoring.
Typically, the majority of the precipitation occurs in the
central Sierra region from January 1 to April 1. The best guess for the
current season includes a high probability for above-average precipitation
of more than 20 inches of rainfall in the foothills and an exceptional
snow pack above 7,000 feet.
Of course, any precipitation above last season’s paltry
total for Three Rivers of 13.93 inches of rainfall is great news. But
remember: El Nino spawned storms can be violent and produce flash flooding
and rockslides. Be prepared and when it comes to winter weather, expect
Letter from Iraq: Life in the war zone
On March 19, 2003, American and British forces began a war
in Iraq, known by the U.S. government as Operation Iraqi Freedom. This
conflict is the first major war of the 21st century.
While considered by many to be another part of the “War on Terror,”
the war in Iraq is in many ways separate and unique. In scope of preparation
and casualties, the new war in Iraq by far overshadows the earlier invasion
The war continues, as the occupying Coalition troops now
face a guerrilla war conducted by those members of the Iraqi Republican
Guard, the Saddam Fedayeen, and the Shiite militia that calls itself the
This week, Second Lieutenant Martin Rafter, who grew up in
Three Rivers and is currently stationed in Balad, Iraq, vividly describes
the country’s people and landscape as well as his job there as an
officer in the U.S. Army.
His story begins on page two in the print edition or on the
Opinion/Columns page on this website.
Events signal onset of holiday season
Beginning this Saturday and continuing well into December,
art, music, and nature will combine to infuse Kaweah Country with a serious
dose of holiday spirit.
Holiday Bazaar— This Saturday, Nov.
20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Three Rivers Memorial Building, the
Three Rivers Senior League will host its 19th annual arts and crafts sale
featuring more than four dozen booths, door prizes awarded throughout
the day, hot food, and more.
Perfect Gift Boutique— On Friday and Saturday,
Nov. 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Three Rivers Arts Center,
the Kaweah Artisans will have several artists on hand to help make gift-giving
easy and one-of-a-kind.
Tree-Lighting Ceremony— This seventh annual
event will be held in the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church parking lot on
Sunday, Nov. 28, at 4:30 p.m. This year’s celebrity guest will be
World Series champion Red Sox coach Brad Mills. A free meal (from 4:30
to 5:15 p.m.) will include soups and breads and there will be caroling
with guitar accompaniment.
Lemon Cove Holiday Bazaars— It will
be all holiday all day long in Lemon Cove on Saturday, Dec. 4, as Sequoia
Union School’s Parent-Teacher Club (9 a.m.) and the local Woman’s
Club (11 a.m.) host their annual show-and-sales.
The Nutcracker Ballet— On Saturday,
Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m., in the McDowall Auditorium
at Three Rivers School, local ballet students will perform an excerpt
from this holiday classic.
Nation’s Christmas Tree Ceremony—
To receive a dose of a white Christmas, head for the mountains, where
on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m., in Kings Canyon National Parks, a nondenominational
service will be held at the General Grant Tree as well as the annual laying
of a wreath at the base of the tree by park rangers in honor of the nation’s
There is no admission charge for any of the above-mentioned
events. For additional details and contact information, see the Kaweah
Kalendar page on this website.
election results not final yet
A Tulare County Elections official said Wednesday that they
are still counting votes from the November 2 General Election and hope
to post final totals for all precincts by the end of today or tomorrow
(November 20). At least two local races are still too close to determine
In the race for Woodlake City Council, challenger Toni Ruiz-Lenz
maintained a one-vote lead over Jack Ritchie, incumbent and former mayor.
A race for the final seat on the Sequoia Union school board is also awaiting
the final precinct count in order to declare a winner.
Bill Tidwell, Three Rivers Memorial Building trustee, said
earlier this week, that proponents of the defeated Measure Z had conducted
a telephone survey and located a large number postal patrons who never
received sample ballots. The sample ballots are critical, Tidwell said,
because they contained some important information about the proposition
that may have aided its passage.
The measure that would have provided approximately $50,000
annually to the district fell short by about five percent of the two-thirds
number of votes needed for approval. According to elections officials,
all registered voters in the Three Rivers precincts received the proper
ballots that contained Measure Z.
Gear up for ski season:
3R Winter Club hosts swap meet
Do you have skis that are too small or too big? How about
winter clothes that just aren’t being used in your household?
Is your closet filled with ski boots, skis, and winter clothing that don’t
fit? Do you need winter clothes or ski gear for you and your family?
If so, here’s your solution...
On Monday, Nov. 22, beginning at 7 p.m., the Three Rivers
Winter Club is hosting a Ski Swap, which will give everyone a chance to
clean out their overflowing closets. Come to the Three Rivers Arts Center
to buy, give away, and swap any of that stuff that is no longer wanted.
You could find useful replacements, and your unwanted items
may be just what someone else needs. If you have unwanted items or are
in need of specific gear but cannot make it to the Ski Swap, call 561-0608
to make alternative arrangements.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Monarchs beat Tigers royally, 40-7
by John Elliott
Last Friday in Exeter, the Woodlake Tigers (1-9) completed
a very difficult season with a loss to the suddenly rushing-oriented Exeter
Monarchs (6-4). The crushing defeat at the hands of Woodlake’s neighborhood
rival means that Exeter will retain the Valencia Classic trophy for at
least one more year.
The game, like most this season, started with the Tigers
giving their opponent plenty of reasons to be concerned. At the end of
the first quarter, the Monarchs were up 6-0; at halftime, they only led
In the third quarter, Exeter simply wore down the out-manned
Tigers and scored 20 unanswered points. In the fourth quarter, Woodlake
finally broke the shutout when Jose Duran dove into the end zone from
the one-yard line.
The Exeter-Woodlake game in 2003, which ended 9-0 also in
favor of the Monarchs, underscored the big difference with this season’s
Tigers dominated by sophomores.
“I think we gave
up as many or more points in the first two games this year than we did
all last season,” Coach Brian Costa said. “We had a hard time
this year stopping anybody.”
Costa said he is already looking forward to next season when
he expects some of his sophomores to bulk up physically and utilize the
experience of this year. He did say, however, that he regretted that his
seniors would not experience a trip to the playoffs.
“For the Exeter
game we were down to 18 players on the varsity squad,” Costa said.
“With all the injuries we had this season it was really difficult
to compete, especially against the larger schools.”
In Woodlake’s division, under the CIF’s new postseason rules,
11 teams opted to go to the playoffs. The following teams — Orosi
(seeded no. 5), Coalinga (6), Immanuel (8), and Lindsay (10) — will
represent the East Sequoia League. Dinuba (7) and Exeter (9) move up and
will be competing in Division III.
In the JV game, Woodlake’s 27-20 win over the Monarchs
assured Coach Abel Barba’s frosh-soph squad of a winning season.
The youngest Tigers finished with an overall record of 5-4-1.
ESL volleyball honorees named
On Tuesday, in the second round of the Division IV volleyball
playoffs, the Exeter Monarchs were eliminated at home by the Garces Rams,
3-1. The loss ended the Monarchs chances of winning a third consecutive
But another streak remained intact when Tiffany Marinos,
a junior outside hitter from Three Rivers who plays for Exeter, was named
East Sequoia League (ESL) Most Valuable Player. Marinos’s award
marked the fourth consecutive year that the MVP was a Monarch player from
Tiffany’s sister, Janelle, who currently plays collegiate
volleyball at CSU Stanislaus, was the Yosemite League MVP in 2001 and
an ESL MVP in 2002. Samantha Davis of Three Rivers, currently playing
at CSU Chico, earned ESL MVP honors in 2003.
Top WHS players
Kaitlin Beck, a Woodlake High junior from Three Rivers, was
named to the ESL’s First Team while her senior teammate Elyse Garza,
also from Three Rivers, was named to the All-League Second Team. Brisana
Flores, a senior from Woodlake, received an All-League Honorable Mention.