Wet weekend

Briefest of snow in Altadena, California, elevation roughly 1,400 feet, Saturday February 26th.

If you thought that Southern California’s much anticipated snow was the damp squib of the weekend, you didn’t watch the Oscars. More interesting are 2010-11 precipitation numbers to date for what has been a reasonably wet rainy season in Los Angeles County in spite of a La Niña in the equatorial Pacific.

Foothills: Altadena 26.89″  ***, Pasadena: 15.58″ *

San Fernando Valley: Burbank: 14.09″ **

Basin: Downtown Los Angeles: 15.78″ **

Coast: Long Beach: 15.38″ **

If luck amounts to a water plan, then we planned well. To see how a now weakening La Niña has impacted the southern US, from Arizona clear across to Florida, click here for the US Drought Monitor.

*Source: National Weather Service, Los Angeles/Oxnard

**Source: National Weather Service, California Nevada River Forecast Center

***Source: Bill Westphal


On the public record

Myself I planted native plants because I couldn't afford a sprinkler system when I first moved to Southern California. Then of course I became sanctimonious about it. The bees were pure gravy.

On the public record, the most smartly written blog on California water, responded yesterday to the publication earlier this week of the Public Policy Institute report Managing California Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation,  “Reconciliation?  Reconciliation of what? Northern and southern Californians? People living in regions that are about to get screwed with their fates? People and the new Californian dream?

Oh. Environmental and Human Water Uses, apparently. That’s a pretty boring thing to reconcile, because what matters in a political system is people’s expectations and their subjective experiences. Do they feel like they’re having their god-given American right to red meat at every meal yanked away from them, or do they feel like they’re planting

The Dry Garden: Fremont’s flower

Some years ago, the website of Native Sons Nursery had a photograph of a California flannel bush that had been trained to grow along a garden wall. Each bloom in a spangle of flowers was the size of a tea cup. Their yellow could outshine a daffodil, or sunflower. This wasn’t a garden, it was a garden that Matisse dreamed. On seeing that photo, so began years of looking in Los Angeles area gardens for espaliered examples of the glorious genus of natives whose botanical name is Fremontodendron.

And never finding one.

It turns out that the photograph was taken in Guernsey by Native Sons co-founder David Fross, who had just left a place that serves alcohol when he saw the glorious display by one of the signature plants of California chaparral growing in one of the Channel Islands between Britain and France. “I’d had two martinis and half

Waiting for ‘catastrophe’

"Today’s system of water management, developed in previous times for past conditions, is leading the state down a path of environmental and economic deterioration. We’re waiting for the next drought, flood, or lawsuit to bring catastrophe,” says Ellen Hanak, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and co-author of the new report Managing California's Water. "But if we take bold steps now, we can move from an era of conflict to one of reconciliation, where water is managed more flexibly and comprehensively, to benefit both the economy and the environment.” Click on the cover to be taken to the report.

Rain and snow in LA and Vegas

As fun as it is when it rains on celebrities at the Oscars, this year it looks like we will merely see the pencil-thin starlets shiver. The above icons in descending order represent the current National Weather Service forecasts for greater Los Angeles foothills, basin and coast respectively. Click here or on the top row of icons to be taken to the National Weather Service website. From Ken Clark’s AccuWeather blog forecast for Los Angeles: “A little rain could break out as early as Friday afternoon, especially from the Los Angeles Basin on north. But the most rain occurs Friday night, then becomes showery Saturday into early Saturday night with a couple of thunderstorms possible as well. Snow levels initially will be around 3,000 to 3,500 feet Friday night, locally lower interior mountains. Snow levels fall late Friday night and Saturday bottoming out at between 1,000 and 1,500 feet, but

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