“Sopping, and with no sign of stopping, either- then a breather. Warm again, storm again- what is the norm, again? It’s fine, it’s not, it’s suddenly hot: Boom, crash, lightning flash!”
–The Old Farmer’s Almanac
We Californians don’t do well with big weather. After all, this is a sunshine state. The LA Times ran a story Wednesday about the Pacific Storm system heading our way and according to a JPL Climatologist Bill Patzert these storms have “declared war on the drought” and can bring blizzards to the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains. The ski resorts are happy to hear snow is on the way. It does increase our snow pack in the Sierras which brings us our water.
I can remember when I was new to Southern California and we would get a big rain storm. Intersections would be flooded and street drains overflowing. I asked my husband why does LA have such a bad drainage system. He would say LA is just not prepared for a lot of rain.
One of the first winters in our house we had a big rain storm. It rained for about 14 hours straight. Well our property was not prepared for so much rain. We found out our back yard had a poor drainage system with the patio tilting down slightly toward our house. Well you can imagine our surprise to look out the patio door in the morning and see about a half-foot of water sitting up against the house. It was still raining and my poor husband went out to bail the water off our patio. He was out there in the cold rain bailing water. The problem was where to put the water. Our swimming pool was gradually filling up to the top. The water was starting to fill most of our yard.
A neighbor came to the rescue that year. He had a pool as well and anticipated our problem. He brought us a little electric pool pump he had. My husband set it up on the patio and attached a garden hose to it that acts as the drain and ran the hose around the side of our house to the gutter in front. That little pump was a real trooper and managed to drain the water off our back patio. We ended up buying one of our own. We did need it a few more winters. We did eventually get our patio re-done and put in better drainage in the yard. So we are in a much better position now for rain storms.
People tend to forget about the natural water channels here. Like the Ventura River which is usually dry. One year during a big storm, the river became a real river. Some people had set up a trailer park in the river bed. Well you can picture what happened. Many of those trailers were swept down the water filled river to the ocean.
People here have trouble driving in the rain and there are always traffic jams due to accidents. You haven’t lived until you have driven a low profile car on the freeway and had a truck pass you in a rain storm. The windshield of your car gets hit with a wave of water. It makes visibility a bit tough. And you want to look out for water pooling on the side of the road or at intersections or you can find your car hydroplaning.
I am happy that I do not have to commute toward LA. My work takes me to the areas outlying the metro area. I experience traffic but not on the scale of the traffic going into LA from here. I have figured out my route that will avoid the freeway all together.
My husband still commutes several days a week into LA. He always anticipates rain with dread. He warns me when it is expected to rain and likes to keep apprised of the weather reports.
The rain started around 10 PM last night. I was awoken in the middle of the night. I heard the rain pouring down in buckets with some being blown toward our windows around 3 AM. It had been raining steadily for quite a while. I looked out into the backyard. So far not flooding. The drains are doing their job well.