Monday, January 18, 2010


If you've ever lived in or visited Southern California during a winter storm, you know about the news phenomenon known as StormWatch. I think newscasters here LIVE for StormWatch.

Considering what the rest of the country has been putting up with this month, we really have nothing to talk about. But even before the rain started coming down Sunday afternoon, the reporters were ready with their packages.

As I sat near an open window enjoying the sound of gentle rainfall, someone turned on the news. And seriously, the entire 30 minute newscast was focused on the epic storm that will be hitting the West Coast this week.

"Tides will be high! Don't walk out on jetty's and be careful on the beach!" 
"Fifteen to 30 foot swells!" So of course every surfer is reaching for his wet suit.
"People in burn areas should be ready to evacuate immediately in case of mudslides!"
"Visit this location to get your sandbags!"

The thing is, we get so little weather here that heavy sprinkles can cause major traffic accidents. You'll hear people say things like, "I'm going to get to the grocery store before it starts raining." Do they not realize that people in Seattle still manage to shop, eat and sip espresso in the midst of a downpour?

Don't get me wrong: rain can wreak havoc here, especially in areas ravaged by wild fires in the summer. But do the newspeople really need to have cameras set up 24/7 to capture the disasters they're hoping to win an Emmy for covering? Do we really need to interview those intrepid shoppers in Santa Barbara who were brave enough to face the elements in search of a pair of Lucky jeans? Puh-leeze.

Frankly, most of us are thankful for the rain and glad for the change. My parents are just hoping to get enough precipitation in Los Angeles County to lift the rationing so they can water the lawn without fear of the neighbors reporting them to the authorities.

So while the weather girls are shouting into their mikes and warning us not to leave the house without raincoats and umbrellas, I'll be by my fireplace reading and writing.

Some things never change, regardless of the weather.


The winner of the Jordan Sonnenblick novel, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie is:

Congratulations, Dawn! Email me at solvangsherrie at gmail dot com with your snail mail address and I will get that fabulous book out to you pronto!


Kelly Polark said...

That is funny how weather affects people so differently in different regions. Loved the "better shop before it rains." :) We had ice fog yesterday, it left a beautiful icy frost on all the bare branches. I should have taken pictures, it was gorgeous!

storyqueen said...

Totally hear you!

However, living in SoCal has made me a weather wuss. I am taking the girls to Disneyland this morning, but will leave before the winds kick up.

I might melt if rain touches me.


Valerie Geary said...

hehe... you speak words of truth today... :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I can imagine how rain freaks people out! They get nutty here when there's just a threat of snow - it'll close down school, even if nothing happens. I lived in Albuquerque NM for four years, and snow never stopped anything there!

Jackee said...

We're supposed to get 3-5 feet of snow here in Flagstaff and the Phoenix news makes such a big deal of it that even us locals start thinking we had better stock up on groceries and stay off the roads for a week.

So I can relate to the over-exuberance of weatherpersons.

Tana said...

Stay dry! I love when I have nowhere to go when it rains!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i love the rain - gives me an excuse to put a movie on for kids and write :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Since I'm also a SoCal resident, I love to be home watching and listening to rain. It's refreshing to hear the patter and smell the clean air. Driving I don't like so much, mostly because the drains get clogged and back up, even on freeways, and some people drive too fast, jeopardizing everybody else. But I actually like to run into stores, shaking off my umbrella. Variety is spice.

Laura Pauling said...

Same with the snow where I live. People are used to it. They go out in it. But we're also set up with snowplows and sand trucks and snow tires that make existing in snowy weather a whole lot easier! Snow storms are fun (as long as the power stays on). It's a time to have fun with the family and squeeze in some writing. :)

Indigo said...

Living in upstate NY, I get my fair share of belligerent weather. However, I'm used to it and on some level can't imagine it any other way.

Yet, I can sympathize having lived in Fla. for 9 years. The torrential rainstorms coming out of nowhere could be quite frightening.

I do find it amusing with the doom and gloom over the weather stations. (Hugs)Indigo

Elana Johnson said...

Hope you survive the rain! *snickers* It snows A LOT in Utah. Snow day? Don't know the meaning of the word.

ali cross said...

ROFL uhh, yeah. What Elana said ;)

kathrynjankowski said...

So funny, Sherrie! We've got StormWatch up here in Northern California, too. I'm a former reporter, so I feel for these poor souls at the beck and call of their besotted editors.

I've lived through floods and blown-down fences and know what precautions to take. Meanwhile, it's me and my computer and if the power goes down, I've got plenty of books.

silly eagle books said...

That is hilarious. It's the same thing here with snow--one snowflake falls and everyone rushes the grocery stores, buys out all the milk and bread, and then hurries home to "stay safe" inside until all 7 snowflakes melt.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Any rain here is very dangerous. A lot of Angelenos have no clue how to drive when the road is wet.

But today, that wind was something else. There's rain and then there's the gusts of wind that blow your umbrella inside out and try to make you fly.

Anonymous said...

It's very cold here at the moment and we're in the middle of summer. brrrr

There's an award for you at my blog :o)

Lori W. said...

My friend said she heard the weather guy say, "This is going to be some of the wettest rain we've had in some time." Really.

Storyqueen's comment about melting was hilarious. But hey, if our creek weren't downhill from our house, I'd be panicking. It was non-stop, heavy "wet rain" for awhile yesterday!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Kelly: That "shop before it rains" mentality always makes me laugh. The ice fog sounds beautiful!

Shelley: Hope you had a good day at Disneyland. That rain was coming down in buckets in the OC!

Valerie: =D

Diane: Snow in SoCal absolutely sends people over the edge. Thank goodness we don't have "rain days" for school!

Jackee: Too funny! Wish I could be in Flag for the storm. It's so beautiful there with a blanket of snow :)

T.Anne: I'm by the fire with my coffee. I love rainy days!

Shelli: I totally agree!

Tricia: Hope you're enjoying this round. I am :)

Laura: Like you said, as long as I have electricity, I'm a happy camper :)

Indigo: I think the weather people enjoy having something else to talk about besides sun in SoCal!

Elana: I'm pretty sure everyone in a snowy state thinks we're nuts to freak out over the rain :)

Ali: Yes, CA is full of weather wimps =D

Kathryn: I think you're getting a lot more from this storm than we are down here. But at least in Northern CA you guys are used to the rain!

Vanessa: Now THAT's hilarious! All seven snowflakes -- ha!!

Sarah: You're right -- people in Southern California don't know how to drive in the rain and that just adds to all the drama!

Niki: I thought New Zealand was a land of endless sunshine!

Lori: Wet rain? That takes the prize!

MG Higgins said...

I remember it well! Driving so carefully on the freeway after the first rain of the season, before the oil slick got washed away. I loved floating stick and leaf boats down the gutters (as a child, of course).

Christina Lee said...

So interesting--this past year visiting my friend in San Diego, i told her it looked like it was going to rain and she laughed and said, "it never rains here." Then came the downpour--she was in shock and I was dying laughing--I just know I brought it with me from the northeast!
Saw your story on MSNV--congrats on runner-up status!! woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing when we get these storms. This is what our Jan & Feb are "supposed" to be like, but it feels like years since we've gotten dumped on like this. Here's to no landslides!

Dawn Simon said...

Woo-hoo! I've already emailed you, and I'm so excited! I totally planned to read that book because of your awesome recommendation. Now you're going to ship it to me! Wee! Thanks, Sherrie! <3

Too funny about the weather reporters. I'm from Southern California, though I now live in WA. I thought it was so odd the first year my son played t-ball and games weren't canceled for rain--only lightning or too much mud.

Thanks again!

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