Patterico's Pontifications

1/20/2010

California Rains

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Massachusetts’ election and the Haitian earthquake have dominated the news and blogs, but there are other stories including one that affects many California readers — Los Angeles rain:

“Street flooding was reported across the region, including in Burbank, the Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach, areas south of Long Beach Airport, as well as Sunland and San Pedro.

The storm ripped part of the roof off an industrial building in Paramount and flooded the southbound 710 Freeway around Alondra Boulevard. Flooding was also reported on the 710 near Willow Street in Long Beach. [Updated at 6:35 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol said the 405 Freeway south is flooded in Long Beach at Spring Street and that traffic was being diverted.]

Other freeways reported less serious flooding, producing a grim evening commute.”

Any stories to share?

— DRJ

31 Responses to “California Rains”

  1. It was pouring and somewhat flooded on Interstate 680 through the East Bay this morning. I slowed down to 45 MPH. The rain has subsided but it’s pretty windy. Supposed to rain the rest of the week.

    aunursa (a1573d)

  2. I went up to my boat to check it today as the worst storm is forecast for tomorrow. The dock lines were fine. We have a fabric and metal frame structure in back of the house that is a sort of summer house. Yesterday, in the strong wind (90 mph in some places) it walked across the back patio. I finally tied a cement block to the frame and it has behaved itself today. No floods but I am glad I don’t live in a slide area.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  3. At my paper’s Escondido office, people were staring out the window in amazement at the pouring, pounding rain. When Southern California has weather, even reporters are bewildered.

    And soggy.

    To my relief, traffic wasn’t that bad when I drove home. Perhaps all the really bad drivers had had their accidents by then.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  4. it’s wet outside, and the birds are hungry, especially the hummingbirds.

    Captian Obvious (fb8750)

  5. Wasn’t too bad in my part of the SFV.

    I got pretty lucky with the timing of the rain bands.

    TTC (ba61d5)

  6. Bradley, the rule is to stay home for the first or second rain. The water lifts the oil out of the pavement and it is slippery. By now, the rain has washed the oil away and the freeways are not as slick.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  7. I commute to and from work through a canyon. It was pretty flooded – so much so that it really felt like I actually floated over a couple of low spots. The rain was fierce so the going was slow.

    Halfway through the canyon, the rain paused and the weirdest thing happened: I gingerly rounded a curve, and there ahead of me were three coyotes briskly walking in unison in the middle of my lane. The rain started up again but didn’t slow them down at all. So there I was, cautiously following three coyotes.

    I was barely moving and the cars in the opposite direction were also close to a standstill in fear that the coyotes would dart in either direction to get to the hills. They seemed totally unaware of the minor havoc they were wreaking.

    Anyway, stuck in the road, rain pouring again, and three coyotes holding up the show, I started honking as did others, trying to scare them off. After several minutes of this, they finally took off in a westerly direction, briskly walking at first and then hitting the field below the hill, began to book it up into the chaparral. Never seen anything like it. I was then able to continue floating my way home.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  8. according to my low tech rain gauge, a straight wall bucket out in the open with nothing to drip into it, we’ve had 5.75 inches of rain in my part of the SFV so far…..

    SigAlert.com is the place to go for traffic updates.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  9. In San Diego County rain news…

    At times it was coming down at the rate of 1 inch a hour. In one location 2 inches. Usual flooding, usual stalled cars, usual location shots with a drenched reporter holding a wind blown umbrella.

    The big news this time around was a story on six emergency pumps being established in the community of Mission Beach. Not just for the rain, but for the high surf as well.

    At last report the 4th storm is supposed to be even worse. Which means a lot of wet and windy and cold heading east over the next week. Depending on what the Jet Stream does this could mean winter weather for much of the eastern U.S. Be ready to stock up on rock salt or sandbags as the situation warrants.

    Alan Kellogg (0981ab)

  10. Had a pretty bad storm here in AZ last night. There’s an even bigger one coming tonight which could drop 5 inches on our little town. That’s almost our average annual rainfall. It will also wreak a small amount of havoc at the car auctions in town, Barret-Jackson et al.

    Gazzer (c213bd)

  11. All the main roads I take in the Valley are flooded in the right lane. Or they were when I as driving around, today. The drains are clogged or too far apart, causing sidewalks to disappear under water and cars to rooster tail as they drive along. I drove through a deep puddle without realizing how deep it was and thought I was going to stall.

    I’m kinda glad I’m not working if only for the fact I don’t have to commute in the downpour and deal with the doubly bad drivers.

    wherestherum (d413fd)

  12. Massive damage due to mud slides, due to the summer fires. I blame Boosh, no that’s not it, I blame the stupid democrat enviro whacko’s who won’t allow fire lines to be cut through worthless brush. They would rather see your home burn or slide away than see a piece of one year old useless brush removed. Get rid of democrats and 90% of Ca’s peoblems will go with them.
    Firefighter 16

    Scrapiron (996c34)

  13. Just like the stupid yankee democrats moving south because they can no longer afford to live in their home state. A month after they arrive they’re in the city council meeting demanding the same policies be passed that ran them out of their home state. You truly can’t fix stupid.

    Scrapiron (996c34)

  14. Dana,
    Those three coyotes could have been tribal totems, guiding you through the rain.

    Glad your commute (float?) ended safely.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  15. No disrespect intended, but from Houston: Color me unimpressed.

    Beldar (15385b)

  16. Today’s weather made me think of one major laughable aspect of AGW fanatics. That being their marginalization of the impact of the sun in shaping climate. After all, the large storms hitting southern California can be traced to the sun and the fact that less of its energy is falling on earth’s northern hemisphere due to the planet’s tilt.

    Also laughable are the people of liberal persuasion, who fall for the nonsense of AGW, who I observed this afternoon getting all uncomfortable and unhappy — perhaps I can also say hot and bothered — because of the cold and rain. Another example of limousine liberalism, or the phoniness and cluelessness of those on the left regardless of their income level.

    Mark (411533)

  17. Rain broke in the South Bay by 6:30, so I actually made it to outdoor lap swimming at 7:30. The clouds even started to dissipate and I saw the moon and the stars. Apparently the rain is coming back tomorrow in full force.

    JVW (48cbba)

  18. and, unsurprisingly, someone decided to write an e-mail hoax about this event:

    Serious Storm Warnings for Los Angeles and California

    This email was sent to me by a friend of mine who works in the LA County
    Offices and they are forwarding the following statment

    FYI

    The jet stream that is going to hit Southern California is as powerful
    as has ever been recorded on this planet before, over 230 mph. The jet
    is at an extremely unusually low altitude, not 30,000 to 60,000 feet,
    but coming as low as 8,000 feet. This jet will be traveling over the
    unusually warm El Nino waters of the eastern pacific, and will be
    carrying freakish amounts of energy and moisture.

    A huge series of storms is going to slam into Los Angeles and the
    surrounding areas just one after another for day after day for up to two
    weeks.

    The initial storms will be very cold, with snow levels as low as 3,000
    feet. Heavy rain and snow will be hitting California from San Diego to
    Eureka.

    Next week, the driest places will see at least 3 inches of rain, the Los
    Angeles basin and northern parts of the county and Ventura will see 6 to
    10 inches.

    The wettest areas and cells within the system will hit with up to 20
    inches of rain.

    Snowfall in the Sierras will be measured in the TENS of feet.

    Powerful winds will be associated with this storm–like a powerful Santa
    Ana but blowing in the opposite direction, west to east. Gusts up to 80
    mph are forecast.

    But it gets worse. For the first time that I’m aware of, ALL of the
    various models are in agreement about the second week of the storm.
    Normally, beyond a week, the models diverge. But due to the extreme
    strength of the weather producing factors, this time all of the models
    produce the same results for the 8-14 day period.

    For the week of the 24th, we will be hit with a powerful and WARM series
    of storms, as strong as any we’ve seen. This heavy warm rainfall will
    fall onto the newly laid snowpack and what will be totally saturated
    ground, especially in the burn areas of LA and will produce tremendous
    melting and runoff, and the potential for record flooding.

    Due to the low altitude of the jet stream, 200+ mph winds will slam
    directly into the Sierras, producing tornado strength winds over a 200
    mile wide front. DON’T head to Mammoth for skiing when you hear about
    the huge snow fall in the first week. A friend of Scott’s is a Navy
    weather forecaster and he told Scott that the military is moving assets
    east out of the way ahead of this storm. Planes and helicopters are
    migrating out of the coastal bases and into the interior bases of
    Arizona and Nevada. They’re taking this very seriously.

    This may sound alarmist, but websites I check related to weather
    modeling are using the word “Biblical” for this system.

    If you can work from home or commute by train, please plan on doing so.
    The LA freeway system is going to be a mess for the next week or two.

    Peace and please take care,

    From: UC Environmental Protection Services Issues
    Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 1:24 PM
    Subject: Winter Storm Warning starting Sunday

    Currently, the strong El Nino is reaching its peak in the Eastern
    Pacific, and now finally appears to be exerting an influence on
    our weather. The strong jet has been apparent for quite some time out
    over the open water, but the persistent block had prevented it from
    reaching the coast. Now that the block has dissolved completely, a 200+
    kt jet is barreling towards us.

    Multiple large and powerful storm systems are expected to slam into CA
    from the west and northwest over the coming two weeks, all riding this
    extremely powerful jet stream directly into the state. The jet will
    itself provide tremendous dynamic lift, in addition to directing
    numerous disturbances right at the state and supplying them with an
    ample oceanic moisture source. The jet will be at quite a low latitude
    over much of the Pacific, so these storms will be quite cold, at least
    initially. Very heavy rainfall and strong to potentially very strong
    winds will impact the lower elevations beginning late Sunday and
    continuing through at least the following Sunday. This will be the case
    for the entire state, from (and south of) the Mexican border all the way
    up to Oregon. Above 3000-4000 feet, precipitation will be all snow, and
    since temperatures will be unusually cold for a precipitation event of
    this magnitude, a truly prodigious amount of snowfall is likely to occur
    in the mountains, possibly measured in the tens of feet in the Sierra
    after it’s all said and done. But there’s a big and rather threatening
    caveat to that (discussed below). Individual storm events are going to
    be hard to time for at least few more days, since this jet is just about
    as powerful as they come (on this planet, anyway). Between this Sunday
    and the following Sunday, I expect categorical statewide rainfall totals
    in excess of 3-4 inches.

    That is likely to be a huge underestimate for most areas. Much
    of NorCal is likely to see 5-10 inches in the lowlands, with 10-20
    inches in orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see 3-6
    inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that amount in favored
    areas.

    This is where things get even more interesting, though. The
    models are virtually unanimous in “reloading” the powerful jet stream
    and forming an additional persistent kink 2000-3000 miles to our
    southwest after next Sunday. This is a truly ominous pattern, because
    it implies the potential for a strong Pineapple-type connection to
    develop. Indeed, the 12z GFS now shows copious warm rains falling
    between days 12 and 16 across the entire state.

    Normally, such as scenario out beyond day seven would be dubious at
    best. Since the models are in such truly remarkable agreement, however,
    and because of the extremely high potential impact of such an event,
    it’s worth mentioning now. Since there will be a massive volume of
    freshly-fallen snow (even at relatively low elevations between 3000-5000
    feet), even a moderately warm storm event would cause very serious
    flooding. This situation will have to be monitored closely. Even if
    the tropical connection does not
    develop, expected rains in the coming 7-10 days will likely be
    sufficient to cause flooding in and of themselves (even in spite of dry
    antecedent conditions).

    In addition to very heavy precipitation, powerful winds may
    result from very steep pressure gradients associated with the large and
    deep low pressure centers expect ed to begin approaching the coast by
    early next week. Though it’s not clear at the moment just how powerful
    these winds may be, there is certainly the potential for a widespread
    damaging wind event at some point, and the high Sierra peaks are likely
    to see gusts in the 100-200 mph range (since the 200 kt jet at 200-300
    mb will essentially run directly into the mountains at some point). The
    details of this will have to be hashed out as the event(s) draw closer.

    In short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active
    across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory.

    The potential exists for a dangerous flood scenario to arise at
    some point during this interval, especially with the possibility of a
    heavy rain-on-snow event during late week 2. In some parts of Southern
    California, a whole season’s worth of rain could fall over the course of
    5-10 days. This is likely to be a rather memorable event. Stay
    tuned…–

    Western Coastal and Marine Geology
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Pacific Science Center
    400 Natural Bridges Drive
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  19. Meanwhile, in Burbank $40 million dollars rained down on Conan’s head.

    Icy Texan (01c224)

  20. 39,999,999.75 than he is worth, IMHO.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  21. Alt. headline: “Leno Rains on Conan’s Parade”

    Icy Texan (01c224)

  22. Even on tiptoes I couldn’t help but wade through ankle-deep water yesterday to get to the car, which I was certain would stall when I pulled out of the parking structure. (It didn’t.). Skidded on the bridge from Long Beach to Pedro but luckily I was going slow and there was no truck immediately there to hit.

    This sucks.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  23. Oooh, I hate that bridge, Patrick, in the rain above the roiling bay.

    I didn’t have to work so I stayed home and watched the rain and read books and made my favorite winter dinner: pot roast, garlic toast, and red wine.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  24. I like Mulligatawny soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    ropelight (1d3970)

  25. sounds good, ropelight.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  26. I didn’t have to work so I stayed home and watched the rain and read books and made my favorite winter dinner: pot roast, garlic toast, and red wine.

    Patricia, that sounds like a perfect day & meal!

    Commenters who live with *real* seasonal weather have to realize that here in So Cal, if we have excessive rainfall, we are immediately under STORM WATCH! It’s epic, we react like No One Else Has Ever Experienced This! The local news eats it up, create amazing graphics and come up with catchy descriptive phrases uttered in urgent tones because, This is Real Weather. Buckle up! But we realize we tend to be weather wusses due to our limited experience (heavy rain or heavy heat). So bear with us and we promise to refrain from squealing when we step in a big, deep puddle.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  27. I wrote a storm-related story for Friday’s paper about how cold, drenched rodents may be looking to camp out in SoCal homes. I feel so TV.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  28. I got stuck on Chair 22 at Mammoth.

    I’ll get over it….

    SteveG (d45bb7)

  29. #28- Yeah. When a family member moved West and had to take a CA DMV road test (in a summer month,) the first thing the DMV tester asked her was, “Do you know where the switch is to your windshield wipers?” Naturally, the Easterner instantly knew. At the end of the test, curiosity prevailed and she asked why the obviously simple question on the wiper switch. The reply was, “Well, you’d be surprised how many people who’ve lived in California all their lives don’t know where it is on their dashboards or have forgotten since they’ve seldom had to use their wipers.”

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)


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