Scattered storms, lightning hit Southern California and prompt beach closures
May 9, 2019
(Los Angeles Times) In the path of dangerous storms and wildfires this week, Southern California beaches are being closed, including Santa Monica Beach and the beach at Long Beach, state officials said Friday.
The closures began early Wednesday morning after a storm that brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the region. A few beaches still remained open on Friday.
The storms were the latest in a series of such events that have sent Southern California into its second week of drought conditions.
Southern California has seen three more days of above-normal rain, which has boosted the flow of the Colorado River and sent water through channels that link the state with Arizona.
In northern California, wildfire season has begun and the air is still hot and dry.
As much as 90 percent of Southern California is experiencing low dewpoint temperatures that the state meteorological division says has been unusual — making it look like the winter of 2016-17.
It is the first such long period of dry weather in nearly a year.
Southern California’s record-long dry season has led local officials to take steps typically reserved for dire emergencies.
The state has closed schools and libraries, canceled sporting events and canceled concerts, among other measures.
It has also taken a hard look at transportation systems and the way people use their cars to see how officials might make it more usable in the future.
Last year, the state set aside about $3 billion in reserves to build up fire-fighting and other equipment. State officials also have boosted fire training and education programs.
While it’s unclear if the storms and wildfires are related, a recent study blamed climate change for the more frequent and more intense wildfires the region has seen in recent years.
A record-breaking year
The record-breaking year was 2018, when wildfires destroyed more than 8,500 houses, 13,700 cars and killed more than 70 people.
It wasn’t much drier compared with the first week of this year