‘To catch a raindrop’

“The water that you’re looking at would all percolate into the ground if it weren’t paved," Mark Hanna, a Department of Water & Power engineer, told Judith Lewis Mernit during a rainstorm last winter. To read Lewis Mernit's story on the lost rains of Los Angeles, click on the image to be taken to the website of the new literary quarterly Slake, or look for Slake from independent booksellers.

A January storm sweeps across the northern Pacific on the jet stream and hits Southern California with prodigious amounts of rain, writes Judith Lewis Mernit in the premier issue of Slake. It brings wind, too: bursts up to eighty miles per hour lop the tops off palm trees, waterspouts swirl, and a small tornado lifts catamarans thirty feet in the air. Here in Sun Valley, in the northern reaches of the San Fernando Valley, hail clatters so loudly on the