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Feeling the storm fatigue? So are weather forecasters


Good morning and welcome to Essential California Newsletter. Is Friday March 24.

California kicked off 2023 with a barrage of bad weather that has barely abated since the New Year. A dozen atmospheric rivers have passed since late December, bringing epic rain, record snow and, for some communities, danger and devastation.

This week’s storm was especially severe in the Bay Area, where five people were killed in a single dayall apparently due to falling trees.

In San Francisco, strong winds broken glass in skyscraper and sent a sofa sailing from a high-rise apartment to the sidewalk below.

And in SoCal, I did a clichéd cartoon double take on Wednesday when I saw headlines about a possible tornado touching down in the San Gabriel Valley.

Weather officials later confirmed that it was indeed a tornado that ripped part of the roof off a building in Montebello, injuring at least one person and damaging more than a dozen other structures. That followed a tornado Tuesday in Carpinteria that injured one person and “damaged about 25 mobile homes,” National Weather Service officials said.

The roof of the Royal Paper Box Co. in Montebello and nearby cars were damaged in Wednesday’s weather event.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

It turns out that tornadoes actually occasionally touch down in the Golden State. An NWS meteorologist said seeing “a few of them a year is not uncommon.” The Ventura County Star has a map with over 70 years of NWS data in California cyclones, if you will.

The storms have affected some much more than others, with severe flood, evacuations, power outages and blizzards that devastate communities across the state. But there is a common attitude among Californians saturated with this sadness: we’re over it.

And that storm fatigue is felt by meteorologists, too.

“It’s been very busy for us,” Dial Hoang, a Bay Area meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told me, adding that staffing in his office has increased as meteorologists from other regions are brought in to help.

That help is needed as weather experts track multiple events and communicate with local authorities “to make sure we keep as many people safe as possible,” Hoang said.

As “weather lovers,” said NWS meteorologist David King, “there’s this element of excitement” as forecasters track the systems.

But with storms coming “one after another, there’s this element of exhaustion.” King added, noting that he and other meteorologists are “in the same boat” as Bay Area residents:

“We also live in this area. We’re not meteorologists on the other side of the country saying, ‘Hey, good luck with your rain.’ We are here dealing with power outages and high winds and heavy rain just like everyone else.”

So when will the beloved sunshine of the Golden State return? And will it continue now that we are officially in spring?

“Our winter season doesn’t really wind down until the end of March,” King explained. “We have to wait for April (and) hopefully, we will have better conditions.”

Dry conditions are expected for the next two days, King told me, but noted that weather officials “don’t want people to let their guard down.” He offered this advice:

“Enjoy (sunny days), enjoy them, but also use them. Now is the time to restock any travel bags you have, only in the worst case scenarios if the rain intensifies.”

The sunlight will likely be short-lived, King warned, as “another system appears to be moving toward the California coast early next week.”

And now, This is what is happening in California:

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The historic workers’ strike that shut down the Los Angeles school system for three days came to an end Thursday. LAUSD’s more than 1,000 campuses will reopen Friday as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass continues to mediate the ongoing labor dispute between the district and the union representing some of its lowest-paid employees. Los Angeles Times

Scientists have discovered alarming concentrations of pure DDT off the coast of Los Angeles in a portion of the seafloor larger than the city of San Francisco.. Up to half a million barrels of the once-popular pesticide were dumped into the ocean, mostly in the mid-20th century. “These revelations confirm some of the deepest concerns of the scientific community,” writes my colleague Rosanna Xia, “and further complicate efforts to understand the toxic and insidious legacy of DDT in California.” Los Angeles Times

Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re looking for a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse group of reporters from the award-winning LA Times newsroom, delivers the hottest stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


A bill designed to punish oil companies for “price gouging” rushed through the state Senate on Thursday. The legislation, backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, would give the California Energy Commission authority to impose civil penalties on oil companies based on the findings of a new state agency that would have the power to monitor the industry. Los Angeles Times

An associate dean at Stanford Law School has been suspended after an interruption during a hearing by a conservative federal judge. Earlier this month, a group of students heckled Justice Stuart Kyle Duncan, expressing their anger over his outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage and rulings they say undermine LGBTQ equality. University officials announced that all students will take a training course on “freedom of expression and the standards of the legal profession.” San Francisco Chronicle

Some California legislators don’t want us to try the rainbow. A recent bill by state Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) would ban food products, including Skittles, that contain chemicals that scientific studies have linked to health problems. Los Angeles Times


The former director of a federal prison for women in Northern California was sentenced to 70 months in prison. this week for sexually abusing incarcerated women. Ray J Garcia he also forced women to pose nude and lied to the FBI after photos were found on his government phone. Los Angeles Times


CalMatters analyzed ZIP codes across the state and produced “a surprisingly consistent portrait of who owns electric vehicles in California.” Zero-emission cars are largely concentrated in affluent communities in Silicon Valley, along with Los Angeles and Orange counties, with larger white and Asian populations. college-educated residents. CalMatters

An unusual parasite is killing sea otters off the California coast, according to scientists. In a recent study from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and UC Davis, researchers warn that the parasite could infect other marine animals and humans. Los Angeles Times


A decorating style that embraces a philosophy of more is more, Cluttercore is a great social media vibe. If the thought of filling your home space with as many collectibles, trinkets, or nostalgia as possible doesn’t make you as anxious as it does to me, here are some Los Angeles stores to get you started on your curation. Los Angeles Times

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from today california landmark comes from Karen Axelton from Lakewood: our abundant palm trees, the “best view in Southern California…especially at sunset.”

A row of palm trees as afternoon sunlight colors the clouds

A row of palm trees, photographed during a June 2021 sunset.

(Courtesy of Karen Axelton)

Karen writes:

They are the first thing I saw when I moved to California over 50 years ago. My heart still swells when I look up and see them, especially if I’ve been out of state for a long time.

What are California’s essential landmarks? Fill out this form to send us your photos of a special place in California — natural or man-made. Tell us why it’s interesting and what makes it a symbol of life in the Golden State. Be sure to only include photos taken directly by you. Your presentation may appear in a future issue of the newsletter.

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