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Climate and Environment

Flood Advisory Issued For LA County. But No, This Probably Isn't Enough Rain To End Our Fire Season

Rain drops fall in a puddle during an early season rainstorm in Los Angeles, CA.
Rain falls during an early season storm in Los Angeles on October 25, 2021.
(Jacob Margolis
/
LAist )
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While Northern California is seeing record-setting rainfall, debris flows in recently burned areas and a potential end to wildfire season with this series of atmospheric rivers, the rain falling on Southern California isn’t quite as intense.

That said, there is now a flood advisory in place for L.A. County.

And there's been some exceptionally heavy precipitation on and around the Alisal Fire Burn area in Santa Barbara, with as much as four inches falling in the past 24 hours. Debris flows there have been a concern although by late morning both the flash flood warning and watch expired.

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Here's what that morning rainfall looked like:

Ventura and Los Angeles counties are expected to get one to three inches of rain, a decent showing, but likely not enough to bring an end to wildfire conditions.

“The first couple inches of the year, the first couple of inches of precipitation, don’t quite get us there, especially since we’re still in our Santa Ana wind season,” explained Jayme Laber, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

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While it may not be enough to solve the longer-term drought conditions, it is enough rain to cause problems.

What's Next

Once this storm passes, our drought riddled landscapes will likely dry back out as the weather warms back up. Through the rest of the week temperatures will return to the 70s and 80s, and dry winds will blow, all of which is typical for this time of year. We don’t usually expect to see precipitation until mid to late November.

The Santa Ana winds peak between December and February and are strong drivers of fires, which is why fire season can run through winter if rain never shows up.

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“We’re still not out of the woods,” L.A. County Fire’s Chief Chad Sourbeer said.

In the coming days fire agencies including L.A. County Fire will head out to do fuel moisture tests which indicate to them how vulnerable vegetation is to catching on fire.

It’s pretty simple: the drier plants are the easier they burn when a fire shows up.

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Jacob Margolis helps Southern Californians understand the science shaping our imperfect paradise and gets us prepared for what’s next.