Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Who'll Stop the Rain?

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today during our fall member drive.

Earthquakes and mudslides: Check. Rain, tornadoes: Check. Thunder and lightning: Very very frightening. Welcome to the new LA: We've finally got it all. It's the wettest year on record, and while the rest of Red America flips through the Book of Revelations and sagely nods its head, it seems that our little corner of the planet is undergoing rapid, radical climate change. Remember that '80s joke about how LA would slide into the sea? Now that it's finally coming true, who can even pretend to be surprised? Hollywood's own apocalyptic mythos seems enough to convince plenty of people that we're living in end times.

Mind you, if this meteorological mayhem is caused by global warming, LA itself can hardly be held blameless: Many's the hotshot assistant producer who's cut us off in his Hummer these past few weeks, slicing through the ponds and puddles of the 405 like a sooty, hell-bound torpedo. And as the water streams off the rivets of our tanks, LAist looks to the heavy sky and ponders the possibility that the rain may never stop.

It's been raining hellishly on the LA basin since October. According to Dr. Steve Ou, a researcher at the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the cause is an irregularity in the jet stream leaving a nearly stationary low-pressure trough west of us that "continuously pumps moisture into Southern California." Normally, says Ou, that low pressure system would be sitting out over the midwest, and all the moisture would be dropped on the east coast. But this year, a "warmer climate caused less snow on the ground," in the fly-over states, and "more solar energy was absorbed by the land/atmosphere system, so that the middle part of the U.S. is warmer than usual, and the low pressure was forced to stay over the west coast."