The Rain in California Is Mind-Boggling

Southern California might get a year's worth in a single day
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2024 10:15 AM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2024 6:00 AM CST
The Rain in California Is Mind-Boggling
Grammy attendees wear trash bags and ponchos to shield themselves from the rain while departing the Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

To say that it's pouring rain in California is a vast understatement. The state is dealing with a weather phenomenon known as an atmospheric river for the second straight day—on the heels of an earlier one last week. Which might explain why the National Weather Service in Los Angeles is using red exclamation points to warn people in the Hollywood Hills of an "extremely dangerous situation unfolding." Flooding, power outages, landslides, and rockslides are being reported. Snippets from coverage:

  • The NWS predicted "14 inches of rain could fall on Monday in parts of Southern California, potentially matching Los Angeles' average annual rainfall total—14 inches—in a single day," per the New York Times.

  • On Sunday, downtown Los Angeles got 4.1 inches of rain, a record for the day and the city's 10th wettest day on record for any time of year, per the Los Angeles Times. Sunday's rainfall exceeded the city's average monthly total of 3.64 inches, per NBC Los Angeles. What's more, the rain is forecast to continue through Monday and Tuesday.
  • About 14 million people are under "high risk" for excessive rainfall. "Typically in the US, high-risk days only make up about 4% of all days—but they account for 80% of all flood damage," per CNN. "Statistically speaking, the odds of back-to-back days being ... high risk is about one in a thousand." The story reports that El Nino is a factor this year, but that atmospheric rivers are projected to grow more common amid warming global temperatures.
  • "Atmospheric rivers are relatively narrow plumes of moisture that form over an ocean and can produce torrential amounts of rain as they move over land," per the AP. This one stretches back to near Hawaii, resulting in its "Pineapple Express" name. In Southern California, the weather system has essentially parked itself over the coastal and valley areas.
  • The Weather Channel notes the first storm-related death, that of a man killed Sunday by a falling redwood tree in Yuba City.
(More atmospheric river stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.