Rain, Rain, Rain


Rain, Rain, Rain

For those of you who don’t know, LA is a friggin desert. It’s hot and dry here. All water is brought in from the Owens Valley (east side of the high Sierra Mountains) or the Colorado or Sacramento River. This water project is the largest in the country. Our average rainfall is about 15 inches a year – but that belies what really happens. In the past four years we had 13, 3, 13, and 9 inches . The year prior to that we had 37 inches of rain. We get a few storms, usually in February or March, with three or four inches, and that’s it. In the 3 inch years, we don’t get any rain. I think that the dog peed in the rain gauge those years. In 2006-2007, when we got three inches, that was the least rain we have ever gotten at least since they began keeping records in 1887.

In the past couple of years we have been on water rationing, that is, we can only water our lawns on Monday and Thursday. I’m not sure why it makes any difference. Why not people with even numbers on Monday and Thursday and odd Numbers on Wednesday and Friday? One thing we did learn, however, was that when they started the Monday/Thursday fandango, water mains started to burst all over the city. No one will admit it, of course, but running all that water on the same days put extra stress on the water mains and kablooie… I wonder if we wasted more water than the rationing saved?

It’s been raining since last Friday. At last count downtown LA had five and a half inches of rain in this storm (that was at 10 this am). My guess is that we are closing on seven inches now and the weather service, such as it is, is predicting heavy rain through Wednesday. That’s a lot of water sports fans. Snow is falling in the mountains. Mammoth Mountain Ski area had NINE FEET of Snow over the weekend. The only problem is that you can’t get there. Roads are closed.

The weather folks are perplexed. They had predicted a dry winter. Seems there is a La Nina effect at work in the Pacific and that means no rain for California. Yeah Right. El Nino (the Christ Child) effect brings rain. Somebody forget to fill the kids in this year.

With all out scientific knowledge, computers, and historical data, we still have no clue. Headlines in London Papers a few years back harkened the end to any snow in the UK. Here’s a picture I got yesterday from a friend in Birmingham:

I still go back to my credo. If it comes from an official source, and is predicting something more than a week out, believe the opposite.

The wooly caterpillar, my dog’s coat and the Pennsylvania ground hogs can predict the mid distance weather as well as science. Those computers just aren’t quite as fast as they need to be.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

4 Responses

  1. Nothing to do with parking, but:
    1) L.A. is not a desert – we are actually a Mediterranean climate/ecosystem – generally we’re called “semi-arid mediterranean” because we’re on the dry end of Mediterranean. This is pretty different than a desert. Deserts get 8 or fewer inches of rain each year. L.A. has historically averaged 14 inches. It’s a very different climate than nearby deserts – for example, the Mojave or the Sonora.
    2) This weather is typical for La Nina years. Less rain overall – but it tends to arrive nearly all at once in very large storms. The worst flooding in L.A. has been La Ninas: 1934, 1938, 1969… No one can predict the future precisely (even less with climate change), but I expect that it will still be a typical La Nina relatively dry winter: overall total below average, with a couple major storm series like we’re seeing right now. This is what has happened in the past; it’s what was predicted and this is what’s happening now.

    1. The City clamps down on the pritems because they do not allow parking sales to be the primary use . But what if parking is the highest and best use? This looks like the city is taking the heat for the team. A quick look on google maps shows that the Stadium could have shared the parking with the Rangers. But I guess the boys didnt want to share the parking revenue, so let the city put the ordinance in and take all the blame. Look at Philadlephia where there are 4 stadiums that share the same lots, with an agreements between all the teams.If I was this lot owner I would sell a can of soda at the entrance and the signs would say Free Parking with $50 Soda Purchase Let the free market go, it will work itself out ..just like at the Yankees new stadium.

  2. Sigh — Yes, Joe, I know we live in a Mediterranean Climate, however it roughly depends on which side of the Mediterranean you are considering — is it Nice on the Rivera which likens to Santa Barbara or is it Tripoli which looks a lot like the San Fernando valley before water was brought in.
    The micro climates along the coast of Southern California are vastly different from the desert like climates often only 20 miles inland. In a normal summer, when its 80 degrees at my house in Mar Vista near LAX, it is over 100 degrees in the San Fernando Valley only about 15 miles away.
    Pick your climate — an hour and ten minutes from my house it is snowing and will have great skiing but 20 minutes from that sky slope is a tiny desert known as the Mojave.
    As for the weather and rainfall, take a look at the rainfall records for the last 100 years — here are none that hit the “average”. Some are a lot more (like 30 inches) most are less.

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