In Novato, you can get a sense of how dry the summer has been by looking at the extremely shallow wetlands, only a few inches deep, just off Highway 101. After a good winter, there is a lot more water there that is feet deep.
In the North Bay, people are worrying about floods while planning for a drought.
This has been a year where Californians must account for every drop of water. The Sonoma County Water Agency donated water saving devices such as shower buckets and shower heads. These items water savers in Santa Rosa, Windsor and in Novato. It is as if predictions of El Nino and a possible Pineapple Express never existed.
"We hope some rain comes this year, but we would like to prepare our customers, just in case it doesn't," Ryan Grisso with the North Marin Water District said.
"Free is good when paying those water bills. You like a little kickback," Novato resident Todd Smith said.
If we had a crystal ball, dealing with the future would so much easier. Instead, we have memories and experiences.
Terry Pederson manages the Leisure Lake Village Mobile Home Park in Petaluma. He says he's concerned, but not worried.
During heavy rains, Leisure Lakes has become a regular stop for us to check on flooding damage.
During the El Nino of 1982, it flooded. Other years, it has merely becomes an island when a nearby, low-lying creek overflows.
Leisure Lakes is a community hoping to save water, but not to float away in it, hence additional pumps, with a few rowboats lying about for good measure. Residents say it's a nice place to live, but flooding preparations come with the turf.
Federal forecasters say the current El Nino appears to be one of the strongest seen in years, but it likely won't erase the California drought in one winter.
VIDEO: State emergency officials preparing for impact of powerful El Nino
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