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

 …

The Dry Garden: Grand illusion

In his 1982 autobiography “My Last Breath,” film director Luis Buñuel wrote:

A year can go by, even two, without so much as a single cloud in the impassive sky. Whenever an adventuresome cumulus wandered into view just above the mountain peaks, all the clerks in the grocery next door would rush to our house and clamber up onto the roof. There, from the vantage point of a small gable, they’d spend hours watching the creeping cloud, shaking their heads and murmuring sadly: “Wind’s from the south. It’ll never get here.”

And they were always right.

May a Los Angeles filmmaker one day match the elegance with which the Spanish-born Buñuel exaggerated the dryness of his native Aragon. Annual rainfall there is much like ours: 12 to 15 inches a year.

But when it comes to exaggeration here, our tendency is to overstate the rain. Ever notice how much it