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  • Writer's pictureSarahHauer


Southern California is experiencing a rainy day in July. If you live in other parts of the world, that won't mean much to you. We are experiencing (yet another) severe drought, so every drop counts. And July is not a typical month for rain. The weather report included the hope that we might even get a thunderstorm this afternoon. I'm not holding my breath.

The first time I came to SoCal in 2010 for a visit to consider moving here from Minnesota, my son and I stayed in the Hyatt near Universal Studios. We arrived on a "rainy" day. The locals were excited. Those of us from other parts of the planet did not understand the hype. It sprinkled. The ground barely got wet. The front desk clerk was originally from Missouri. She recognized the puzzled look on our faces and already knew we were contemplating a move to the area. She said, "Get used to this." She indicated the locals, not the weather. "They'll interrupt shows with breaking news on storms coming through where the rain on the street has less water than I can spit out."

That does not mean SoCal doesn't get severe weather. During the months where rain is common, such as February and March, so much rain can fall on ground that refuses to soak it in that flooding can be a real issue. When the ground does soak it in, landslides are real. Fire weather is real and now pretty much a year-round problem. Earthquakes are all too real. Yes, I have felt a few of them now.

I find it fascinating how friends from Minnesota believe earthquakes are scarier than tornadoes, and how friends from California believe tornadoes are scarier than earthquakes. I chalk that up to examples of fear of the unknown. Ask people like me who have experienced both: they are both scary and exhilarating.

That is one thing I miss about Minnesota: weather. Real rain. The excitement of watching for the tornadoes. Flashes of lightning on a warm summer evening followed by the blast of cold air. Thundersnow. Watching a front roll in over a still lake at sunset.

I'm going to say it. In my opinion (I have no statistics or studies to back it up), the meteorologists in Minnesota are smarter than the meteorologists in SoCal, and so are the Minnesota viewers. Frankly, they have to be. Almost everyone in Minnesota has learned to watch the barometric pressure readings to know if they need to keep a watchful eye for severe weather later in the day. They know the different types of clouds and which ones to monitor. They know when and where to search for that rainbow. They understand the basics of cold fronts versus warm fronts. That an Alberta clipper can mean dangerous wind chills. And that a rainy day doesn't necessarily mean you can stop making that hotdish for the company potluck at the local park because, dang it, it's summer and we need to get those picnics in before old man winter returns. Get the bug spray out to block the state bird from attacking and check the weather report. We've got horseshoes to throw and Canadian geese to feed.

I have seen a few tornadoes in my life. Only a couple have truly scared me. Damage done over the years has included downed trees, lost roof shingles, destroyed crops, and lawn chairs lost and found in the nearby field. We've been lucky. We have had more than one neighbor with a tree mysteriously planted in their living room. Yes, California has a history of tornadoes, but they are rare much like earthquakes in Minnesota.

It's true. I miss Minnesota weather. The weather here is boring. If the predicted storm this afternoon does materialize, and their won't be much to it anyway, it will make me reminisce the many times I have had to duck for cover in the cellar just in case that tornado decided to take aim at me. Can't predict the unpredictable, right?

Stay sky aware, people of SoCal! Might slip on a puddle of spit today.

Thanks for reading!



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