Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Donde Esta La Nina?

Where is La Nina?

The forecast for this winter was La Nina, a drier than normal winter. La Nina would have added to California’s drought.

La Nina is missing. Her picture should be on milk cartons. We could issue an amber alert for her, but it would not be visible through the heavy rains. She’s been mugged by El Nino.

The rain was so heavy that satellite signals from Directv came through as pixels in modern art.

Swimming pools over flowed.

Outdoor malls suffered from a dearth of customers.

Disneyland’s attendance is down precipitously during the peak Christmas season.

Ski resorts are ecstatic with tremendous snow, but skiers can’t get to the resorts.

Albert Hammond once sang “It never rains in sunny Southern California.” Was he wrong?

This winter is working up to El Nino stages, and we’ll still in December.
October and November brought about 6 ½ inches of rain to Southern California, or more precisely the rain gauge in our backyard. That’s about half the annual rainfall for SoCal. An additional ¾ inches arrived in early December.

AH, but the past six days. What the Siberian Express is to the Midwest and East, and Nor-easters to the Atlantic seaboard, the Pineapple Express is to California. A 3,000 mile storm crowd stretches from Hawaii to California.

We have received 8 ½ inches up until this morning. An even stronger storm is scheduled to pass through late tonight into tomorrow.

These are not numbers; they are human tragedy in Southern California.

The slippery slopes of Southern California cannot handle this rainfall without major landslides. Flash floods have already occurred. Stretches of the PCH, as usual in these winters, become impassable. Streets flood out. Erosion and mudslides attack homes.

Most of the first decade of the New Millennium has seen drought conditions in the West. The average annual rainfall in Los Angeles is 15 inches.

Only three years exceeded the 15 inches. They were 2000-01 with 17.94 inches, 2002-03 with 16.42, 1and 2004-05 with a near record setting 37.96 inches.
2001-02 with 4.42 inches, 2003-04 with 9.25, 2006-07 with 3.31, and 2008-09 with 9.08 are more typical of the decade.

The rainfalls and snowpack in the mountains will help replenish the state’s reservoirs, but the heavy rains falling on the Los Angeles plain flow directly to the Pacific Ocean. Engineers have difficulty designing and building large reservoirs on essentially 0° degrees. Indeed, the storm drains have warnings on them: “Flows directly to the ocean.” The normally dry Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Santa Ana Rivers become raging torrents.

Listen carefully to Albert Hammond: “It never rains in California, but girl don’t they tell ya, it pours, man, it pours.”

La Nina, please come back. We’ve flowed past our annual average. We need you.

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