Stuff of nightmares
Drone operators have been gazing in fascination as, for the first time in over a decade, the Lake Berryessa glory hole has been swallowing up excess water and shooting it down into Putah Creek. Youtube Video A glory hole – or to give it the proper name, a morning glory spillway (named after the beautiful flower's shape) – is …
"I am a dinghy sailor and this scares the bejasus out of me."
I used to sail a GP14 on Errwood reservoir back in the days that their plughole was in operation for most of the year. They took the sensible precaution of having a safety boat and a boom across the corner of the dam to keep boats at a safe distance.
'[n]ot to mention my mum's name [of 'glory hole'] for the cupboard under the stairs - such is language."
Then again, your mum might be pulling your leg, i.e., saying something "unintentionally naughty" to cause you brain irritation or some other distress. In any case, a good son would giggle a few times, then recommend to mum that she use "hidey hole" from then on. (Feel free to Britainize it by sprinkling in a completely unnecessary letter "u" or maybe an "ae," e.g., "hydae houle.")
1825, "drawer or box where things are heaped together in a disorderly manner." The first element probably is a variant of Scottish glaur "to make muddy, dirty, defile" (Middle English glorienleir "mud." Hence, in nautical use, "a small room between decks,"
That explains the "glory", but I'm not sure why a "Glory Box" is called a Hole. Perhaps the Scottish term is derived from the nautical term? Also, not sure that the mining term is directly related to the Scottish/ nautical term at all.
There's also one at Errwood, not that far away. Although I think concerns about the strength of the dam means that the water is no longer allowed to get that high.
It was all very atmospheric at one time, especially since Alan Garner's "The Moon of Gomrath" had some of the scariest scenes set in this location and at the ruins of Errwood Hall on the other side of the valley.
 OK, I know it's not a house, but it is one of the coolest structures known and when the water was allowed to go down the spillway the building hovered over the edge, wreathed in mist.
 I'm not sure what it is, it had some big valves and levers visible through the windows.
For any other Northern Irish readers here, there's a rather beautiful example, with laminar flow, similar to the article, in the Silent Valley Reservoir. It's so close to the dam it makes it tempting to try and jump in - Google Maps link here, with it intimidatingly visible.
... while pretty impressive, the drain is just doing its job. The real story is that we've had a LOT of precip in Northern California for the first time in a long time. We've had 28.25 inches of rain here in Sonoma since January 1st (roughly 25 miles as the crow flies from the Berryessa "Glory Hole"). That is close to three times normal. More importantly, the snow pack in the Sierra (California's "water bank") is much higher than normal, several reporting stations report over 500 inches of snow so far this season.
It's not enough to bust the drought, that would take four or five years of this kind of weather (need to refill the aquifers). But it's a start ...
That's over 42 feet of snow in two months. Squaw Valley (a ski resort) hit over 56 feet of snow during the 2010 season, and that's not a record!. The orographic lifting of the Sierra Nevada tends to wring out all the water evaporated by the long fetch of the Pacific Ocean. Nevada, the next state East of California, is the driest in the nation as a direct result.
California ain't just for beach-bums, dude.
"California ain't just for beach-bums, dude."
Our bit of Italy has 10,000ft mountains not far from the Adriatic sea. This year we got snowfall of two metres in a single day which was one of the causes of the Rigopiano avalanche. Because of the short journey time from mountains to sea it's possible in April to go skiing in the morning then drive to the coast which takes 40-50 minutes and spend the day on the beach.
Sadly we aren't for surfers. The Adriatic is too land-locked for surf. There are plenty of bums on the beach, though.
I have snow-skied at sunrise in the Sierra (24F), water skied on the Delta at noon (88F), and surfed in the rain at Davenport Landing at sunset (65F). All on the same day (June 2nd, my ex-'s birthday). I drove home through heavy fog over the Golden Gate Bridge later in the evening.
The afore mentioned Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows (another ski resort) are both reporting over 57 feet ... and they expect to be open for skiing through the 4th of July weekend and possibly beyond.
I had heard or read somewhere (maybe apocryphal) that one reason a morning glory spillway is called a glory hole is that if you enter, you are bound for glory. According to this page a UC Davis grad student accidentally took that fast deadly trip down the Monticello hole in 1997.
Would be to suck down a shitload of politicians, followed up by lawyers and then finally PHB's.
As for politicians, we here in Merica can nominate any of 537 that come off the top of my head. From what I read of the attitude over on your side of the pond, there is considerable sentiment for sending someone named 'May' down it.
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