Courtesy of UCANR

The 2024 rainy season in Southern California has intensified, with recent storms causing significant damage and life-threatening flooding. Daniel Swain, a dedicated UCLA researcher specializing in the analysis of evolving weather patterns influenced by climate change, warned of “bomb cyclone” conditions driven by air current anomalies off the West Coast. His detailed insights, outlined in a February 3rd blog post on Weather West, sheds light on recent weather events.

Despite the apprehension surrounding these storms, it’s crucial to acknowledge the vital role atmospheric rivers play in replenishing water supplies in western states. The current situation marks a stark contrast for Californians, who only a few years ago grappled with historic drought conditions. Are you curious how much rain fell in your area? You can track rainfall totals through the Ventura County Watershed Protection District rainfall map. Click on the boxes and see how much rain fell in the last day, week or season.

Those residing in low-lying areas or flood-prone regions can acquire free sandbags to safeguard their properties during future rain events. On a positive note, excess rainfall presents an opportune time to invest in rain barrels and rain-harvesting systems. Rainwater harvesting, a time-tested practice dating back to ancient times, is experiencing a resurgence. On a large scale, the Freeman Diversion redirects water from the Santa Clara River during storms to spreading basins for groundwater recharge.

For the homeowner, installing rain barrels is a straightforward process, with ample online resources such as books and videos. “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,” by Brad Lancaster, stands out as a go-to guide. Additionally, the creation of rain gardens can facilitate the capture of water in the soil. This natural process allows plants and microorganisms to break down organic compounds and filter out pollutants commonly found in urban stormwater runoff.

Explore discounted rain barrels and other water conservation devices offered by local municipalities.