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Morning Brief: It Didn’t Rain Enough In California, Outdoor Drinking Is Back, And … Cheesecake

A church in South Los Angeles (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 2.

It seems like we’re just coming off the tail end of some rainstorms, but those dreary days were actually in January (what is time?) — and they weren’t enough to get California where it needs to be in terms of moisture.

As my colleague Jacob Margolis reports, the state’s rainy season has come to an end, and the verdict is in: drought conditions are getting worse.

Because the weather was so dry last year (you may not have noticed, since you were inside most of the time), 91% of California is now experiencing some level of drought. That means our snowpacks and reservoirs — where we get and store water, respectively — are both far lower than average.

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Some areas in the state are already being asked to conserve resources, and more restrictions will likely come down the pike as the year progresses.

And in case you’re wondering: yes, this is bad news for fire season.

For the past decade or so, California wildfires have been getting worse; 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007, and officials called the number of large fires last year “unprecedented.” Some of that increase is due to climate change, and some is due to a vicious cycle created by wildfires; regrowth in burned areas can be very dry, making the area even more fire-prone than it already was.

A lack of precipitation, which results in drier — as in, more flammable — vegetation, certainly doesn’t help.

Officials and experts are trying to come up with solutions, including the seemingly-silly-but-possibly-useful idea of using plants such as banana trees, which are moisture-heavy, as barriers around homes in fire-prone areas.

"Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't,” says Barath Raghavan, a professor of engineering at USC. “But I think we're all open to new ideas in doing things differently since we've seen the fire environment change so much over the past 10 years."

In the meantime, be prepared to conserve water this summer — and maybe stock up on bananas.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Verbally attacked at the Huntington Gardens, one woman of Asian descent describes what it feels like to be on the receiving end of racially motivated hate. (LAist)

The intersection of LGBTQ, Latino and Catholic identities is explored in a new podcast hosted by local radio personality Eder Díaz Santillan. (Q Voice News)

Members of the Filipino community in L.A. were advised by the consulate to be vigilant and cautious, due to the increase in hate crimes targeting Asian and Asian American people. (Asian Journal)

In Burbank’s Magnolia Park, small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. (LAist)

Teen pilot Cailey Stewart reflects on her first solo flight at age 16, and what the future has in store. (L.A. Sentinel)

A 25-year-old woman died under mysterious circumstances in an encampment for the unhoused in Canoga Park. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

The Mission Creek strand on the San Andreas Fault is moving way faster than scientists thought. (LAist)

Capirotada, a bread pudding-like dessert, is at the center of one writer’s reflection on his mother’s experience in America. (LAist)

Before You Go … This Weekend’s Outdoor Pick: Flowers!

Explore more than 50 acres of flowers and blooms at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. (Jason Rosenberg, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

It's time for a day trip! Head to The Flower Fields, a working farm in Carlsbad, where you can explore more than 50 acres of flowers and blooms with views of the Pacific Ocean.

Or, check out some of these options: Solve an online murder mystery set in 1960s Los Angeles. Play the ponies. Dance through prison walls. Explore Gen Z and Millennial fashion. Watch WeHo's campiest celeb impersonators play the MisMatch Game. Spring into Easter with all sorts of festive celebrations. And more.

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