Sunday, August 20, 2023

SoCal and Hillary: Not the apocalypse but a handful of places are going to get hammered

Eastern journalists have a tendency to get overwrought when it comes to Western weather, so let's all calm down and keep things in perspective.

Hillary is a fast moving tropical storm -- here in LA we're looking at a little over twenty-four hours of rainfall -- and the ground isn't saturated from earlier precipitation which bodes well for us evading catastrophic flooding. We have plenty of experience dealing with storms this bad or worse. With a few exceptions like Palm Springs, what's remarkable here is not the magnitude and the potential for damage, but the type and timing. We do get major storms out here, inevitably with flash floods, just almost never in August.

 That said, a few areas are going to see extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented amounts of water.

Needless to say, infrastructure is virtually never designed to handle years worth of rain in a single day.

We're not talking about the kind of widespread devastation you see after a hurricane in the Southeast, but we may have some bad spots.

When people who aren't familiar with  the region try to write about LA and Southern California, they almost always fail to grasp the scale, the range, and the complexity of the place. Just in terms of Los Angeles terrain, we have valleys, mountains, beaches, high deserts and low deserts all of which can be different in terms of temperature, cloudiness, fogginess, and precipitation. It's not unusual to call someone else in LA and ask "how's the weather over there?"

Right now, the answer's not bad. We'll let you know if anything changes.

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