Friday, February 06, 2004

Fire and Brimstone will Rain down from the Sky - aka: Stormwatch Los Angeles

Southern California has some of the mildest weather in the world. You actually become a weather wimp after a few years living here. I remember the first year I was here, it was winter and I was standing in line at the post office when a girl rushed in wearing a sweat shirt, sweat pants and running shoes. She had her arms wrapped around herself and was lamenting about how cold it was. I mean, she sounded like there was a blizzard outside and she'd narrowly escaped frostbite. In fact the temperature was in the 50s (that's Fahrenheit) and I (newly arrived from England) was feeling warm, so I thought a few uncharitable and condescending thoughts to myself and gave my attention back to buying some stamps. A couple of years later, again in the winter, I caught myself lamenting about how cold it was when in fact the temperature was in the 50s - what a wimp.

The reason I bring this up is that I heard a commercial on the radio for the "Doppler 7000", which is a weather radar system. The announcer in the commercial sounded so serious and they had some sound bites of various news anchors saying things like "it's really raining", "there's rain in the San Fernando valley" and "rain is threatening the Southland." You'd think we were in south-eastern Florida and a hurricane was about to rip the city to pieces.

The only time we get real rain in Southern California is during El NiƱo. Then we really get some weather. But the rest of the time the weather is such a non-event. For example a couple of days ago we had some rain. It rained from about 5pm till 5am and then it stopped and it hasn't rained since. But the amount of attention it got on the local media was amazing. A month or so ago there was a "Storm Watch" and the weather forecasters were going into foaming fits about "Fire and Brimstone will rain down from the sky and the seas will roil with boiling blood." Well not quite that bad, but almost. Anyway the day of the "Great Storm" came and nothing (I mean absolutely NOTHING!) happened. No rain, no wind, no storm. It was sunny and quite warm for January.

So now perhaps you will understand why I laughed and laughed at the commercial for the Doppler 7000.

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