Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It’s raining palm fronds and car accidents!

Typically, I make fun of our local news stations, which are so quick to jump on the “Winter Storm Watch 2009!!” headlines whenever we’re to receive more than an eighth of an inch of rain. But it wasn’t hyperbole this time.

It was stormy.


Very scary, to be perfectly honest, at least on the highway. If you had any doubt, Southern California highways are NOT the place you want to find yourself when the sky opens up.

From start to finish of my late afternoon commute the rain was coming down, so the normal 65 to 85 mile per hour pace was already toned down to 50 to 60 miles per hour. But then it happened, the clouds let loose and sheets of water rained down upon the concrete maze.

At that instant there is nothing you can do other than slow down and keep going. It’s amazing, really - all those cars, at the same time, bringing it down. Way down, from 50 to 25, instantly. You just hope that the person in front of you has their lights on because you really have no visibility, and it’s incredibly loud, and your windshield wipers are flapping back and forth like a crazy person’s SOS.

Passing under another freeway or surface street overpass is a small blessing as you have a 10 second reprieve from the noise and mayhem; but it’s not as though you can stay, you’d have cars piled up behind you straightaway, and your overpass nirvana would be shattered.

So you keep going, trying to avoid the spray off the car to your upper right and hydroplaning into the highway median on your left. I typically grip the wheel tight and start enthusiastically singing whatever ol’ song happens to be playing (unless I’m driving home from Rosarito, Mexico with Corey girls in the car, then they sing an entire musical soundtrack). For some unknown reason these tactics calm me right down.

I know, I know, it sounds so trivial. It’s only RAIN for god’s sake.

And you’re right. Most of us here are, or are in the process of becoming, weather wimps.

We do not do storms well. Southern California is not built for them, and seems to attract people that are not up for them either. Streets flood after an hour of rain, the runoff pollutes the beaches and bays, highways become clogged with multiple car pileups, surface roads with palm fronds and pine needles, and people opt to work remotely rather than face the wrath of the intemperate day.

I admit it. We like dry, sunny weather.

So shoot us. (But we already do that on our highways too...)


Me, You, or Ellie said...

That really was a wild storm - and today it's sunny but FREEZING out there. Driving to pick up the kids from work, I saw not one but two uprooted trees, plus a poor SUV parked on Laurel Street was literally impaled by the top of a huge palm tree. I much prefer the rain when I am tucked into my snuggy at home, thank you very much.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

I know it's 53 degrees!! Burr.


not afraid of the rain in PA said...

enough already?!?
aren't the two SoCal girls eastcoast transplants??
you're embarrassing your friends and relatives who live in the "real world of weather" :)

ps..but I do remember how slick the concrete highways got when the skies finally opened up.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, I always feel like I'm under seige when it rainstorms in San Diego. I like to be in Jacquie's house too, and not on the interstates, where all the (transplanted eastcoasters) run into eachother.

But you know what? When it rains *here* I like to be inside my house too. All day, if need be. And need it be indeed.

It's just starting to get cold around here. And dark.

Is it May yet?