El Niño Slams California & Then Some

Campanile 300 01-16

In between rainfall, my colleague, Michael Schuerman, used his smartphone to take this amazing photo. The sky says it all.

This week, Californians saw something they rarely see around here.


Gobs of it. And wind, hail, thunder and lightning, too. The rain came in droves. We’re talking buckets of cold, miserable heavy downpours that chill you to the bone. Unforgiving, pounding rain, bringing floods, mudslides and famine. Okay, maybe not the latter, but you get the picture.

Plus, it snowed in the mountains. Which means, it’s time to give a warm welcome to the one, the only, the incomparable young boy who wreaks havoc wherever he goes. The kid everyone knows as,


Yes sir! The little menace—or “El Chapo Number 2” as I call him, is in the house, and trust me, you don’t want to mess with him.

He brings brutal force and killer wind gusts wherever he goes. I can’t remember the last time I saw such blinding, hammering downpours and freezing temps in my neck of the woods. But frankly, I love it!

For El Niño knows how much we in California need rain to get us out of the debilitating drought we’ve been in. Which is why, I assume, he went gangbusters, doing his part like nobody’s business, and in the process he caused massive headaches and property damage. But because we need the rain, we ‘re willing to put up with his shenanigans.

I’ll be honest with you. San Diegans are total wimps when it comes to rain. I should know. I’ve become one myself, having completely forgotten what it’s like to live in a climate where rain is a regular occurrence and snow is pretty much an annual thing.

Like all San Diegans, these guys like to hunker down when it rains. Heck, they're always hunkering down.

Like all San Diegans, these guys like to hunker down when it rains. Heck, they’re always hunkering down.

First sign of rain and San Diegans want to hunker down and stay inside until it lets up. Schools here have been known to close because of rain. Heck, my gym closed on account of rain.

What’s more, people cancel appointments and leave work early when it rains, for fear of getting caught in it, and worse–for fear of having to drive in it. After all, San Diegans don’t know how to drive in the rain, which leads to hundreds—maybe thousands—of fender benders all over town.

My windshield was pummeled by sheets of rain–even with my wipers on their highest speed–and I couldn’t see a thing as I headed home from work on the freeway. So I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers, hoping that I’d make it to my destination without crashing into anyone.

The fire stations saw a run on the most popular item that just about everyone needs: sandbags.

Sandbags come in handy for keeping water from flooding your house or mud from burying you and everything in its path. I’ve never needed sandbags in the past, so I didn’t get any. Though maybe I should have.

Rainwater filled my patio and the walkway in front of my townhouse. It also lapped at the side of my unit, too. Suddenly I was living on waterfront property!

This turkey baster sure came in handy!

This turkey baster sure came in handy!

But since I didn’t have sandbags and worried that the water might find its way inside my home, I did what any sensible woman would do: I grabbed the turkey baster from a kitchen drawer and used it to remove the water—one squeeze of the baster at a time. But with the rain coming down all around me, my cause seemed hopelessly helpless at best.

Friday saw sporadic rainfall, as did Saturday. Sunday brought nothing more than mist. In between, we saw patches of sun. Bright, shiny, beautifully warm sun.

But fear not. El Niño isn’t finished with us yet. El Chapo Number 2 has more havoc to wreak and we’re counting the days until the next big storm.

In the meantime, would somebody please throw me a life preserver? I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle.




15 thoughts on “El Niño Slams California & Then Some

  1. I don’t know how I feel about this little chappie pouring bucket loads of water on us Monica. I’m inclined to embrace a little at a time, but given that I don’t have that choice, I have resorted to driving, while giving menacing looks to anyone I see speeding by, sitting too close behind me ( it makes me feel better even if they can’t see me) or honking their horn because I’m keeping to the speed limit. Like in San Diego, here in Northern California, we do not know how to slow down or drive in the rain. I’m watching the rain come down now. A new storm they say. All of this and plenty of snow in Tahoe, better fill up those reservoirs, meanwhile I will continue to crawl at the speed limit on the freeway because I’m so afraid of hitting someone.
    Poor Henry and Oliver, I want to hunker down myself.

    By the way, I bet El Chapo #1 did not think an interview with Sean Penn would get him caught.
    Stay safe on the road my friend.

    • MM, When the rain comes I let go of my New York style of driving and stay in the right lane going just below the speed limit. After all, I want to arrive safely and in one piece to my destination. As for hunkering down, I’m like the dogs and will use any excuse to hunker down and cozy up to a good book or binge watching an exciting, new show.

      I love El Chapo news. As for TV, have you watched “The Man in the High Castle?” It’s very good.

      • I would love to be under my blanket with a book and cup of tea. It never happens though. That right lane is definitely for me when it rains .. although there is always someone in a mighty hurry, I have no idea where they need to go when it is pouring.
        Oh I haven’t heard of The Man in the High Castle. Is it on PBS?

      • No, it’s on Amazon Prime Video. It’s based on a book and the premise is, what if the Nazis and the Japanese had won World War II and taken over this country. What would life be like? It’s set in the 60s and gives you lots to think about.

  2. Well clearly a sense of humor serves you well and has gotten you through the storm swimmingly 😉 — although those pooches of yours, if they’re anything like other dogs I’ve known, are not to keen on doing their business in the rain. My daughter, who you know lives in L.A., has been known to complain that people don’t know how to drive in the rain. Here’s to happy all-weather writing in 2016, Monica.

    • If I didn’t always look for the bright side, I’d be a mess. Hear that sound? That’s me, making a joyful noise! Rain makes me happy. Even if it doesn’t rain here, but rains elsewhere in the state, that’s still great news for all of us. But when you first move here and go to the DMV to take the written test in order to get your California license, one of the first things they tell you is, “CALIFORNIANS CAN’T DRIVE IN THE RAIN.” Seriously, it’s on the test. They test you on how to drive in the rain. Sigh.

  3. Rain is the norm over here Monica.

    In most parts of the world you organise an event and put inside if wet, over here we put outside if dry!!!

    Joking aside the weather is changing we have just had our wettest warmest December since records began, now this wee we are told to expect snow on Thursday.

    You hang onto El Niño we have enough of the stuff over here already. But look on the positive side in a few months people will be moaning about the lack of rain again and worrying about droughts!!

      • If rain is a hot commodity in your neck of the woods then I assume unlike here at least your rain is warm? (That’s British humour by the way!)

        Just had heavy rain overnight here, woke me up hammering against the windows.

  4. Monica, having endured this little terror who brought floods to Central Illinois, too, I sympathize with your plight. Do you feel like you’re growing webs between your toes yet?? Perhaps the worst is having a long-haired dog who suddenly HAS to go outside in the middle of the downpour!!

    I admire your resilience, though. At least you can look on the bright side, knowing the rains might alleviate a drought next summer. Droughts and wildfires are things I imagine most Californians would do quite nicely without!

    • Well it seems this week we’re having a bit of a respite, Debbie, so no webbed feet as yet. But you never know. Here’s to more rain in our immediate future! After all, having enough water can sure come in handy!

  5. Pingback: Baby it’s Cold Outside | Spiral Visions

Comments are closed.