It doesn’t rain that often in Southern California, but on the other hand, it’s not so rare that every shower is accompanied by the arrival of the Fremen riding sandworms.
The average annual rainfall over the last 100+ years is 14.98″. But we’re in the throes of a massive, three-year drought. The last three years we’ve gotten 8.69″, 5.85″, and 6.08″ of rain respectively. This has left reservoirs dangerously low and over 99% of the state in an extreme drought condition.
We’ve already started to experience water usage restrictions. For example, in LA we can only water our lawns for ten minutes a day, three days a week. If we get into a fourth year of drought, those restrictions will only get more draconian.
But it’s not just lawns and car washing that will suffer. Agriculture is a huge part of the state’s economy, and that’s a hit that we really can’t afford, seeing as how we’re still recovering from the last recession. Furthermore, if California’s farms suffer, so do food prices and availability across the country and beyond.
But the entertainment value in SoCal rain is in the way the media and the fine citizens react to even the smallest amount of rain. I wrote about it in November 2013, which may have been the last time we had any significant precipitation. And yes, that level of hype and overreaction really does happen here.
This storm is expected to last off and on through Thursday, bringing as much as 5″ of rain in some areas, 3″ or so just about everywhere. That won’t break the drought – it would take at least two exceptionally wet years in a row to refill the reservoirs.
But bet on folks all over the state immediately resetting their lawn sprinklers to run twenty minutes a day, seven days a week. And to run them even while it’s raining. While watching 24/7 coverage of “Storm Watch 2014!”
Because it’s Los Angeles.