California has lately been suffering through a drought of epic proportions, so rain should be cause for excitement in the Golden State. But the past week's showers in southern California have simply been too much, too quickly, and some areas can't handle it. Evacuation orders were in place Saturday for hundreds of homes in the foothills, which are at risk of being damaged by mudslides caused by the torrential downpour. Another 32,000 homes lost power over the weekend.
The Los Angeles suburbs, where fires have burned away a good deal of the vegetation that used to keep soil in place, have been most at risk for mudslides and flooding. Much like fires, mudslides are hard to predict, leaving many evacuated for days at a time. Said a Los Angeles fire department official on Friday, "These mountains are now saturated and soaked. We know where the mud’s gonna go, we just don’t how much and what the intensity is going to be."
That same day, the Los Angeles area received two inches of rain. That might not sound like a lot, but it's more than the region has gotten over the rest of the entire seven-month rain season. The area has even seen some weak tornadoes, though they're not common. But a weekend of rainstorms – even intense, record-breaking ones – won't be enough to lift California out of its drought. Although this is the first time in over three years that the Los Angeles area has gotten over two inches of rain in one season, it still falls well below the normal 11 inches. Unfortunately, meteorologists predict that Sunday will mark the end to a dangerous, yet much welcome, series of storms.