Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful-Let it Rain, Let it Rain, and Blizzard

“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.

20 thoughts on “Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful-Let it Rain, Let it Rain, and Blizzard

  1. Sandi

    It seems like you go from one extreme to the other in your California weather, Deborah: hope you and your husband stay safe in the rain!

    We had to have our driveway completely dug up a few years ago because of drainage issues: our house sits down from the road, and water would pour into the basement when there was a bad storm. It was a huge expense that we are still recovering from. . . .

    I loved your title, and the poem from the Farmer’s Almanac was wonderful 🙂

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  2. Silver Threading

    We lived in the Antelope Valley – Edwards AFB, CA for about 8 years before we left CA. My husband is from the Long Beach Area. We have a daughter in Valencia, CA. It is just time for nature to correct the damage done to the Pacific coast. Just your turn. Be safe and I hope all is well with you. ❤

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Well, I guess you couldn’t have the lakes without the water. It sounds like the Lake District could be like the Northwest US. They have many rainy days per year. The storm has eased this morning with just showers expected today. More rain is forecast for here on Monday and Tuesday. Well if you see the drought map up on top of my post, all that brown color over California is not a good thing. We do need the rain. 🙂

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  3. Dan Antion

    Your description of the patio and pump is familiar. We had the same experience when we bought our house. I’ve since added drain tile and a drywell. I know you guys need rain but you’ld think it could come in little bits. Stay dry.

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      1. Dan Antion

        The drywell doesn’t store the water. It’s located low enough in the ground that water coming into it should drain into the soil below. For us, that means that the bottom is well below our frost line of 42″. It can hold some water, if there is a burst of heavy rain but it’s surrounded by gravel so that everything that goes in should drain quickly. We drain the gutters from the back of our house and porch into one. We have other smaller ones to pick up most gutters because the yard is pitched, ever so slightly, toward the house as your patio is.

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      2. Deborah Drucker Post author

        It does sound like it conserves the water though. At least in the soil. Our water is running off into the sewer and eventually into the ocean. There has been a movement to try to build a facility to capture the run off and recycle it for use. But a facility needs to be built.

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      So far we are fine here. No floods in our neighborhood. But other areas of LA did get some flooding and mud slides. Always a danger here after fires and rain. But our drains worked great. 🙂

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  4. Laura L.

    I’m glad the Left Coast is getting its rain and snow, but it does seem to like to be all or nothing. I remember seeing a cartoon a long time ago that was a “Welcome to California” theme and the highway signs pointed to Earthquake, fires, landslides, floods… Kinda funny but true, too. I still love the Bay Area though and always will.

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