Los Angeles Weather Review, January 6, 2016

Flower St/37th Street/110 S Exit intersection.

***** Upon rise, the bedroom was dark enough to justify the use of the bedside light. An open kitchen window let the sound of rain hissing through the neighbor’s bushes to mix freely with that of the cooking breakfast sausage. Outside, at the end of the driveway, an unavoidably large puddle had formed, prompting an ambitious leap from the sidewalk to the marginally less-soaking street surface. Dry inside the car, the windshield wipers dragged laboriously across the glass, their blades in bad need of replacement.

The oily streets demanded a ginger foot on the accelerator, lest the wheels spin pointlessly in place at a freshly green light. Though the rain caused a higher number of cars to sail off course and into one another than usual during the morning commute, most of the big wrecks were cleared from the roads by midday. The wipers were on their highest setting, and the freeway’s pace, challenged by enormous puddle-splashes and a thick opaque mist, was kept to 35.

At the lunch truck, the line was graciously short, though the previously sheeting rain had let up to a light drizzle. Returning to the car, it was challenging to distinguish where the sidewalk ended and the mud began.

By late afternoon, El Niño’s clouds were hurrying off to the east, allowing a low winter’s sun a chance to cast all of Southern California into a clean, crystal yellow glow. The remaining stray clouds drifted through the light, putting on a marvelous show for anyone looking upward.

But down below, as night fell on the city streets, dozens of localized power failures had zapped off the streetlights and traffic signals. With no light to illuminate them and no signal to guide them, pedestrians waved their cell-phones desperately in the air, attempting to alert the oncoming and unaware charge of headlights to their humanly presence. The cars didn’t stop. The people sprinted through a gap.

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