On a typical afternoon, the L.A. River looks like its bleak Terminator 2 depiction: a dry concrete channel with nothing more than a trickle of water down the center (no bulletproof cyborgs, though). But with just a little bit of rain the river begins to look like, well, a river.
Sunday's storms, though, turned the river into a relentless rush of brown water. According to the National Weather Service, 2.94 inches of rain fell at LAX and a staggering 3.97 inches at Long Beach Airport, a single-day record for the area. Since October, Downtown L.A. has received more than double its average amount of rainfall and all of that water has to go somewhere (in the case of the river, back into the ocean).
If you were anywhere near a TV on Sunday, you probably encountered a couple of breaking news alerts for flash flooding. Most notably, a section of the 110 freeway in Carson was completely underwater, diverting traffic onto surface streets for hours. But the L.A. River had its own transit issues; the bike path, pictured below, was completely underwater in sections of the Valley. Water could be seen rushing onto the path in Frogtown, as well as the completely separate Ballona Creek path.
Though its concrete channel is often maligned, it's clear why, after a series of devastating floods in the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to encase the river. It should also be pretty clear why you should stay the hell away from the river while it's still raining. Be safe out there and keep that kayak stowed until Memorial Day. But in the meantime, take a look at some of these humbling videos of the L.A. River on Sunday.
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