Rain Returned Sunday Night And Caused A 570% Rise In Freeway Crashes
It rained in L.A. this weekend! And we're not just talking about that annoying peach-fuzz drizzle either. We got some actual rain, the kind that rattles across your roof and makes you want to put on the jazz station.
As weather forecaster Ryan Kittell of the National Weather Service informed us, the L.A. area, in general, got between 0.5 to 1.25 inches of rain from the storm. Downtown, in particular, was treated to 0.75 inches. The areas around the foothills were treated to slightly more rain because, as Kittell explains, the hills cause a "ramping effect" that helps push the moisture up into the air, which leads to conditions that are more conducive to rain.
The current forecast says we'll be seeing clear, sunny skies for the next few days. But, beyond that, will we be treated to more rain in the near future? First, it should be noted that we've been in the grips of a drought for the past few years, and there's been word that La Niña could also boost our chances of a dry winter season. Kittell notes that, yes, L.A. has been pretty bone dry for the past five years, and that La Niña is currently exerting itself along the equator. However, he's not counting out a rainy winter for L.A. "Typically when we have a La Niña we don't get as as much rain as we usually do out here. But the scientific connection between La Niña and rain in Southern California is not fully understood. And La Niña is not a slam dunk in terms of how it affects the rain," says Kittell. He adds that, looking beyond the last 5 years, L.A. averages about 14 inches of rain a year, with most of that falling during the months between December and February.
Of course, our city's relationship with rain is...precarious. Statistics compiled by the California High Patrol show that, during this rainy weekend, there were 201 incidents of reported crashes on the county's freeways, according to the L.A. Times. This amounts to a 570% increase of freeway collisions when compared to the same period a week prior. Also, four individuals were rescued from the L.A. River up in Atwater Village on early Monday morning. They were stranded on an island with 35 mph currents surging past them. A swift-water rescue team from the LAFD were able to retrieve them; there were no reports of serious injuries. This is all to say that us Angelenos could afford to ramp up the precautions we take when it comes to rainy days.
The rain, while sometimes dangerous, is obviously much needed during our time of drought. Aside from the environmental benefits, however, you could also make a case for its aesthetic value. In the rain, L.A. turns into a kind of gray, brooding scene from a noir movie (think: Harrison Ford running through a dark, puddle-dappled alleyway in Blade Runner). Here are some images to drive home that point: