Tags: california | drought

Rain Comes to California

Image: Rain Comes to California
Ventura Beach, Calif. (AP)

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Sunday, 10 Jan 2016 11:20 AM Current | Bio | Archive

California residents have been racking their brains trying to remember a word they haven’t used for at least four years. It just didn’t come up during the drought, but now that it’s begun to rain again . . . what was that word? Oh, yes, that’s it: Flood!

That’s what happens when you have more water than riverbed in which to store it. Until recently flood was what happened when you dropped the stapler in your coffee cup, but now California has rain and rivers that, at least some of the time, have water.

The Los Angeles Times recently thought rain was newsworthy enough to send a reporter to cover a river. The reporter found a crowd mesmerized by the sight of the Los Angeles River “roaring to life in downtown Los Angeles during the recent string of El Niño-fueled storms.”

The crowd tried to judge the speed of the turbulent water by observing the trash hurtling down the channel (some things don’t change), but it was no use. They just knew no one on the shore could outrun it.

One way to judge the velocity of the river’s water is to think of it as the world’s longest water slide. The story points out the flow is fed from the runoff from 834 acres of steep terrain, starting from a peak of 7,000 feet. The main tributary drops 800 feet from the source in Canoga Park to the mouth of the river in Long Beach, 51 miles distant.

The Mississippi, no slouch in the flow department itself, takes 2,300 miles to drop that much.

The concrete gulch that characterizes the Los Angeles River we know dates from 1938, when a deluge dropped 6 inches of rain on LA in a single day and 32 inches in the San Gabriel mountains over five days. The resulting flood covered 108,000 acres, destroyed houses, bridges, and rail lines, and killed 87 people.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a program to dig a deeper channel, control the river’s flow and construct reservoirs to hold the excess rain. The project was completed in 1959.

So although the flood danger is pretty much over, if the rain continues, Los Angeles residents may have to start using the bridges, instead of cutting across the river channel. And that’s only a small adjustment to everyday life.

The Times sees bigger adjustments on the horizons. To prepare readers for the dawn of a new era, the Times is helpfully promoting a video on its website titled: “How to drive in the rain.”

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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Now California has rain and rivers that, at least some of the time, have water.
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2016-20-10
Sunday, 10 Jan 2016 11:20 AM
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