Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It never rains in Southern California

Any time it rains in Los Angeles, even if it’s a couple of drops, the local TV channels go nuts. STORM WATCH ’17. After all, this town is not built for clouds, much less rain. When buying a car, windshield wipers are an option like racing stripes.

But local channels scramble to report the showers with team coverage. Field reporters are dispatched to outlying intersections where there are large puddles. We’re told to stay inside until May. And that’s fine until…

We REALLY have a storm.

Like we experienced last Friday. Holy shit! A five-year drought ended in five hours. This was an Irwin Allen disaster movie. The rain was torrential, the winds were howling. And the field reporters were getting drenched.

Poor Eric Spillman of Channel 5 has been doing these reports for fifteen years. He must say “this is Eric Spillman Channel 5 News” every time he steps into a shower.

The other stations just send out their Barbie doll reporters. So poor Heather and Amber and Ambyr have big make-up crises. But those are the kinds of sacrifices you must make to be considered a serious journalist.

The big problem in Southern California is we have terrible drainage, especially in the suburbs. Housing tracts sprung up like weeds in the early ‘50s and proper drainage was not taken into consideration. Geologists rarely were consulted so many canyon homes were built on topsoil. My aunt’s home slid into their swimming pool during the downpour of ’62.

Beachfront homes offered little protection against high tides and angry oceans so to this day you see major celebrities filling sandbags to buttress their glass palaces against the raging sea and storm.

And then there are the mudslides – that effectively cuts off travel along the Pacific Coast Highway and the canyons. Poor Barbra Streisand can’t go anywhere!

Trees always seem to get uprooted. And this hits close to home. Behold our next door neighbor’s tree a few years ago. Yes… YIKES.

Power is out for much of the city because it seems the entire metropolis gets its electricity from one power line. So if a tree takes it down we’re blacked out from the future Mexican wall to Santa Barbara.

And everyone’s house leaks.  Roofers will be busy for the next three years. 

Then there are those pesky sinkholes.  Two cars fell into this one Friday night.

We came through the storm fine. Thank you to those who expressed concern. The next time there’s rain (probably later this week) unless cars are floating by my TV screen I don’t want to see the graphic STORM WATCH ’17.  And let Eric Spillman cover something that's indoors, willya? 


Bill Avena said...

"Stormwatch" is also the name of a southern Oregon TV weather segment, in a region where forest fires are the only storms between June and October, and where a quarter inch of snow shuts down schools. As Ken Brockman says,"DAMN YOU, SNOW!"

ChipO said...

An Infrastructure Observation inspired by your wonderful humor:
My Grandfather, the stereotypical country general practitioner doctor, got appointed to be the first county health office of Wicomico County, MD (on the Eastern Shore, the peninsula which creates the Chesapeake Bay). After WWII, as the vets were getting their new homes and subdivisions, he was not happy with the lack of infrastructure to those new subdivisions. He was required to sign every subdivision plat, but his signature was meaningless, if he withheld it, the subdivision would proceed anyway.
He wrote - in big handwriting across the front page of each set of subdivision plans:
"When the septic tank is in the backyard, the well in the front rarely runs dry."
Cheers all,

Ralph C. said...

That's no pothole-- that's where the Mole Man's invasion is coming from! Contact the Fantastic Four!!!

VP81955 said...

Washington, D.C. reacts to snow the way Los Angeles does to rain. If an inch of snow is predicted in Washington, supermarkets and hardware stores from College Park to Manassas are packed as people buy milk, kitty litter (for both their felines and to give their cars traction) and sundry other necessities. And much of the time, said inch never materializes.

But when rain comes in LA, please say a prayer for those on Skid Row -- especially those who aren't being housed at missions or the like. Take it from me (someone who's been homeless, but thankfully has always found shelter), life under those conditions is pure hell.

Mike Barer said...

Yes, we experienced it and yes, we drove through town in our rented red Camaro convertible. We were fortunate to get safely back to our hotel and the next few days were like what we expect from Southern California.

Unknown said...

On most local newscasts, weathermen/women are the comedy relief.
Here in Chicago, the major factor in hiring the weather guy seemed to be how well he could draw, especially funny cartoon figures.
As time progressed, weather reporters gradually morphed into meteorologists, with lots of scientific and technical talk - but they were still expected to be the Funny Guys (or occasionally the Glamor Gals) on the 10 O'Clock News (Central Time).
It was when tech improved to the point that video cameras could work outdoors that bad weather became something that the reporters were supposed to cover on the spot, so to speak.
In the Midwest, huge snowfalls were covered this way (still are).
Also tornadoes, torrential rainstorms, blistering heat, blistering cold ...
Whenever any of these would happen, the local stations would send some poor schlub out to defy the elements and tell us all what we could readily see just by looking out the window.
I used to really feel for the weather guys in the Southeast who had to cover hurricanes live and on location; I was always waiting for one of them to say, live and on the air: "GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!!" - or words to that effect.
So there too.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Best of luck with your rotten weather - you are not alone.

Stoney said...

Stay inside and watch a good movie. Might I suggest "An Inconvenient Truth"?

Stoney said...

Wish we could predict where sinkholes would form. If we could only set up a presidential podium on a site!

blinky said...

Up here in silly cone valley the rain has been non-stop for months. I personally have started to grow gills.

Barry Traylor said...

Could not help but think of George Carlin while reading your blog today.


Andrew said...

Letterman was a weatherman. I've always wondered if that somehow prepared him for his comedy and late night persona.

Andrew said...

"Stay inside and watch a good movie. Might I suggest 'An Inconvenient Truth'?"

Another good one (weather-wise) would be Groundhog Day.

MikeK.Pa. said...

"He must say “this is Eric Spillman Channel 5 News” every time he steps into a shower."
Immediately could visualize it and cracked up. Thanks for the laugh.

Andy Rose said...

As an Atlanta resident, it reminds a lot of 2014, when we came in for a lot of ridicule after 3 inches of snow and a half inch of ice completely shut down the city for days. To us, going crazy over five inches of rain seems absurd, but people only prepare for what they're accustomed to seeing.

@Mike Doran - That push to be live in severe weather is even bigger now that cell data technology allows live signals from almost anywhere. Every big city TV station now has a "storm tracker" vehicle that lets them report live while they're still moving on the road. When I was a field reporter 15 years ago, that stuff didn't exist. In fact, we couldn't even go live at all in a thunderstorm because of the risk that lightning would strike the 30-foot mast on our truck.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

LA Story

YEKIMI said...

Anytime a couple of snowflakes fall or more than an inch of rain is expected or there's a tornado within three states distance, there's a meteorologist in the Cleveland market that fires up his "Doppler of Death" and breaks into whatever is on at the time [except commercials] and terrorizes the viewers with the "world is coming to an end, head for the basement and make sure your wills are up to date" spiel. Was at a sports bar/restaurant eating once and he came on because a large dark cloud had been spotted heading for Northeast Ohio and a tornado was sure to drop out of it. There was an old lady eating who became so upset that she began yelling for her check, she "had to get out of there right away and get home to go into her basement so she wouldn't be killed by the storm". She hopped into her car and sped off like Satan himself was after her. Of course nothing happened [the storm broke up before it even reached any of the viewing area] and the meteorologist was like "Oh, we dodged a bullet this time folks".

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Just more stereotypical gibberish. It rained a lot on Friday. No power out. No roof leaks. A few cars slid off the road, out of 20 million. Everyone I know just dealt with it. I did pick up some photos that got a little damp transporting them to my car. Call KTLA!

Kaleberg said...

It was Dan Rather who came up with the idea of putting a plastic overlay on a weather radar screen to show people the hurricane heading in to Galveston and encourage them to evacuate. He started the special effects race in weather reporting. On the plus side, it beats frying an egg on the sidewalk. Do they still do that or is there some USDA thing?

Leslie said...

We have the same weather convulsions over rain in Houston--where floods are pretty routine. Also, happens when it gets hot--which is normally how it is. If there is a whif of a cold front, expect another weatherman meltdown. Local news is just ridiculous. I just check weather.gov now. It takes less time than the 10 minute "forecast" plus commercials. In fact, it takes so long to get to the actual forecast, I usually get distracted by something and miss it.