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San Diego

What Is a Bomb Cyclone and How Does It Affect My Landscape?

Posted by San Diego Landscaper on Wednesday, 8 February , 2023

 “Bomb cyclone” is a term given to a winter storm in the mid-latitude areas of the ocean that rapidly intensifies by dropping at least 24 millibars in atmospheric pressure within a 24-hour period.  This rapid strengthening, known as “bombogenesis,” leads to a storm with tremendous amounts of rainfall.  Unlike a hurricane, bomb cyclones typically do not have high-speed winds that cause serious damage to houses and structures.  Instead, they are usually defined by the large amounts of precipitation that the storms dump on local areas.

San Diego has been experiencing a series of storms this month that have dumped feet of precipitation in some places.  Even places that escaped large-scale flooding have seen increases in their overall water supply.  In some ways, this may be a good thing, given the recent drought.  However, there are other short-term considerations that home and business owners should consider to stop damage to the landscape.

Is California’s Drought Finally at an End?

California has been experiencing devastating drought conditions for several years.  Reservoirs have been depleted, and officials throughout the state have asked residents to cut back on water use to ensure there was enough for everyone.

Within days, this picture has begun to change.  Rain is soaking into some of the hardest-hit areas, helping bring water conditions back up to normal.   With six back-to-back “atmospheric rivers” coming in off the Pacific, and more predicted in coming weeks, central California in particular has been slammed with 138% more precipitation than average.  Additionally, snow has fallen in the Sierra Nevada at an incredible rate, promising more runoff and moisture to come in the spring.

As a result, reservoirs have begun to refill.  In Sacramento and Sonoma County, some of the most depleted reserves went from 50 percent capacity to 80 percent capacity within a week. These crucial reservoirs serve areas that produce a large amount of agriculture for the state and the nation.  This is encouraging news for the coming months when the precipitation will die back to more normal levels.

However, not everyone has been equally as fortunate.  The Colorado River basin is still seeing record water lows which have been helped but not erased by recent bomb cyclone weather.  Some experts warn that the recent drought is not completely solved by the weather, which can also cause other problems such as mudslides.

In San Diego, both the drought and the subsequent weather have not been as severe as in other parts of the state.  Therefore, the steps to protect the landscape in our area may be simpler.

  • During periods of heavy rain, be sure you shore up any weak areas in your plants and bedding. Many beds slope downward; this can be a recipe for soil runoff and erosion.  Talk to your landscape professional about the ground cover and other methods to support and save your soil.
  • Watch out for tree roots. Trees, particularly large ones, can become compromised during periods of heavy, intense rain.  As the ground softens, the roots may not have the ability to cling that they once did.  This can result in toppling trees, particularly if there are strong winds.  Be sure your trees are well-supported.
  • Utilize good water storage when possible. If water storage is possible in your yard, it is an excellent idea to take advantage of the heavy rain while it lasts to store up water for the coming months which may be drier.  Your landscape professional can talk to you about options.

At Juniper Landscape, we want to help you create a beautiful, functional yard that withstands all types of weather conditions.  Give us a call today to speak to one of our professionals!

Juniper Landscape Company is a provider of professional landscaping services in San Diego, we strive to make San Diego a beautiful place by doing business with integrity and creativity.


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