How Will the Atmospheric Rivers Affect Southern California?

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Southern California is currently under a blanket of clouds – but this means it will be more vibrant than ever in the coming months.

A Record-Breaking January 

Southern California has been without much rain for the past few years. SoCal typically receives less rain than our friends to the north, but 2023 is shaping up to be one of the wettest winters we’ve had in a very long time. 

Atmospheric rivers aren’t entirely uncommon occurrences. Even though only 17% of storms on the west coast are atmospheric rivers, they can contribute to up to 50% of Calfironia’s precipitation. That means that a significant amount of the snowpack, precipitation, and flooding in California is caused by just a handful of these damaging storms. 

Results of Recent Rains in Southern California

We know the damage that these storms are causing in Northern California – will Southern California be affected in the same way?

Although the rain has let up in the past week, we aren’t out of the woods yet. Another atmospheric river is set to touch down this week in NorCal. For SoCal, that likely means more rain, high winds, and beach hazards. 

Despite the gray skies and dreary winter, the rain helps foster beautiful changes to Southern California. Once March rolls around, the changes should become visible.

When Southern California receives more rainfall than normal, the region becomes a verdant oasis, bursting with vibrant colors and new life. There are many ways that Southern California changes in the spring, and here are just a few examples:

1. The Hills Come Alive

One of the most striking changes that occur in Southern California in the spring is the transformation of the hills. During the dry summer months, the hills turn a golden brown, but with the added moisture of spring, they become a lush green. The grasses, wildflowers, and other plants that cover the hillsides burst into bloom, creating a stunning tapestry of color.

2. The Beaches Are More Beautiful

Spring is also an excellent time to visit the beaches in Southern California. The water is typically warmer and clearer, and the beach itself is more beautiful, thanks to the added moisture. The sand is softer, and the air is fresher, making for an all-around more enjoyable experience.

3. The Gardens and Parks Are in Full Bloom

In the spring, an abundance of colorful flowers and plants can be found in the SoCal’s gardens and parks. From the rose gardens at the Huntington Library to the colorful wildflowers that blanket the hillsides, there are endless opportunities to marvel at the beauty of nature.

4. The Wildlife Comes Out

Spring is also an excellent time to see wildlife in Southern California. The added moisture brings out a variety of animals, including birds, butterflies, and other insects. The region is home to a wide range of species, and with the added moisture of spring, it’s an ideal time to see them in their natural habitat.

5. The Weather Is Perfect

One of the best things about spring in Southern California is the weather. The days are warm but not too hot, and nights are cool, making it the perfect time to be outside. Whether you want to go hiking, biking, or enjoy a picnic in the park, the spring weather makes it an ideal time to do so.

While the increased rainfall in Southern California has been a welcome relief after years of drought, it’s important to remember that we are not out of the woods yet. Despite the welcome precipitation, Southern California is still facing a severe drought, and it will take more than one rainy season to fully recover.

That being said, the added rainfall does provide some much-needed relief for the region’s water resources. It replenishes the reservoirs and aquifers that provide the region with its drinking water, and it also helps to replenish the groundwater that is used by farmers and other industries. While it is true that changes need to be made to which plants agriculture is allowed to grow, since 80% of our water supply in Southern California goes to mostly grow food for cows as well as water-intensive plants like almonds, we welcome all of the much-needed rain in California at this time. 

However, even though residential water use still makes up a tiny fraction of the water supply, it is still important to follow water conservation techniques to ensure that we make the most of the limited water resources that we have.  More specifically, we have been encouraging our homeowners to replace grass with water-tolerant plants and are constantly checking for leaks in our homes to ensure we are doing our part. 

Overall, there are countless ways that Southern California changes in the spring when the region receives more rainfall than normal. From the transformation of the hills and beaches to the abundance of colorful flowers and wildlife, the region becomes a verdant oasis, offering endless opportunities for enjoyment and beauty.

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