When I was a kid in Connecticut, our next-door neighbors moved away. The people who bought their house were from Los Angeles, and on the day they moved in, the skies opened. Torrential rain.
My mother went over to welcome our new neighbors, who asked her, “When does the rainy season end?”
Now, that is a perfectly reasonable question in California, which really does have a rainy season: typically from November through February. It doesn’t guarantee rain during the winter months, but it does pretty much mean that you can plan your garden party from March through October without having to worry about an alternate ‘rain date’.
But to my mother, whose weather experience was limited to the New York metropolitan area, there was no such thing as a ‘rainy season’. Precipitation was just as likely on July 18th as it was on January 27th – the only variable was rain or snow. I remember Mom coming home and reporting that the new people were “a little strange”. (And they were a little strange, but it wasn’t weather-related.)
Turns out, it wasn’t such a bad question after all. That rainy move-in day for the neighbors was the start of a record-breaking streak of rainy days in the New York area, something on the order of 20 days in a row with rainfall. I may not be remembering the numbers accurately. But a LOT of rain fell for MANY MANY consecutive days. We learned later from the neighbors that they thought my mother was “a little strange” for having lied to them about Connecticut’s summer rainy season.
The local LA media is sounding the drumbeat today: EPIC RAINFALL EVENT ON THE WAY!! They are evacuating people from hillsides in recently burned areas. The rain may start tonight and continue, in waves, right up until the EPIC OSCARS EVENT!! on Sunday afternoon. Total rainfall in Los Angeles could be anywhere from 1-to-4 inches. You get used to the hyperbole in Southern California – the least challenging place in the country to be a meteorologist. “Sunshine today, sunshine tomorrow, sunshine continuing throughout the Zzzzzzz…” Imagine the excitement when they get to dust off the rainy day graphics. Click here to download your DIY Ark Instructions.
We need the rain. I’ve learned to be skeptical… but I hope we get it. Because when a little rain hits the dry pavement in LA, a lot of snow piles up in the Sierra. And that’s where most of our water comes from for the next year. Rain is good. As long as it doesn’t wreak havoc with hairdos and red carpet star-gazing at the Academy Awards!
Photo credit: “LA Rain” by Nic Adler (click here for Flickr link)