The current onslaught brought cheers from farmers across Southern California fearing economic catastrophe, rural communities whose water supplies are projected to run dry within the next two months and people across the state dealing with water conservation restrictions imposed by state and local governments.
Meteorologists have described the current drought in Southern California as the worst they have endured in more than 100 years. Then, something extraordinary happened—the Friday storm. The Friday storm, which was expected to stretch into the weekend, followed a shorter storm on Wednesday, back-to-back downpours that forecasters said would produce as much as 10 inches of rain in some parts of the state and heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for more than 1,000 homes in the cities of Glendora and Azusa, east of Los Angeles, where a wildfire scorched the hillside in January, leaving the communities vulnerable to mudslides because the vegetation that helps hold the earth in place had been burned.
More rain fell in Los Angeles over the course of 12 hours on Friday — 1.53 inches — than had fallen over the last eight months, according to the National Weather Service. By Monday, 2.7 inches of rain had fallen on Los Angeles over 48 hours, and most of that fell in the course of 12 hours. Between July 1 and Wednesday, the area had seen just 1.43 inches of rainfall.