It’s no secret that Angelenos are a bit soft when it comes to rain, with the slightest drizzle sending freeways into chaos. But this week’s atmospheric river was no joke: More than a foot of rain was dumped on some parts of Los Angeles in the span of only three days.
In fact, Downtown L.A. logged its second-wettest three-day rainfall total since records began in 1877, according to the National Weather Service. The area saw 8.51 inches of rain since Sunday, which amounts to a whopping 60% of the area’s average seasonal rainfall and a consecutive total that’s second only to a storm system in 1938.
Some of the city’s hillier areas received even more precipitation than that: Topanga, Bel Air and Woodland Hills all recorded more than a foot of rainfall since Sunday. But how do you really put that number into perspective, especially to out-of-towners who’ve looked on and thought, pfft, so they got a couple of inches of rain, so what? Sure, you could show them the surging L.A. River, mudflows in the Hollywood Hills and an impromptu waterfall in Benedict Canyon but we came up with an even more effective way to communicate the significance of L.A.’s rainfall to your East Coast friends: Make it about them.
New York’s Central Park has averaged about 50 inches of rain each year over the past decade, with precipitation spread throughout the year (unlike in L.A., where we usually see significant rain only in the winter and spring). If you break that down, you’re looking at 12.5 inches in the span of three months. During this last storm, the parts of L.A. mentioned above saw that much rain in three days.
And that’s not even the last of it. The remnants of the storm system are expected to bring another quarter to half inch of rain later on Wednesday night, with snow levels dropping as low as 3,000 feet.