Newsletter: Monster storm expected to splash down on L.A.

Pedestrians stay dry in the rain on 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles last week.
(Christina House / For The Times)

Good morning. It’s Friday, Feb. 17, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Break out your canoe

Southwest California is expected to get drenched Friday with the strongest storm it has seen in several years. “The afternoon commute is going to be a mess,” said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Los Angeles Times


A cause for the crisis?

At Oroville Dam, officials say the threat has lessened and there are new clues about what caused the catastrophic failure of the structure’s huge concrete spillway. Rainwater erosion alongside the spillway appears to have contributed to the collapse, a report reviewed by The Times showed. Los Angeles Times

Change we can believe in?

The crisis at the Oroville Dam drew national attention and outrage. Now advocates hope that this will lead to concrete change on infrastructure, climate change and water policies. Los Angeles Times

A fight for her kids

Monique Baker fought for nearly a year to regain custody of her children after the Department of Child and Family Services took them away. Her story is told here in harrowing detail. Los Angeles Times

Plus: An outsized proportion of L.A. County’s black children end up in foster care, but experts don’t agree on the reason why. Los Angeles Times



A Day Without Immigrants: In Los Angeles, participation in the organized protest was lukewarm compared with other cities across the United States. Many organizations had said they didn’t know about the protests, and many immigrants said they couldn’t afford to miss a day of work. Los Angeles Times

But some did participate: Some of the people taking part in the protest explain why they closed their restaurants on Thursday. LA Weekly

Good riddance, Blue Line: With Valentine’s Day behind us, L.A. Times researcher Scott Wilson offers up some reasons why he’s breaking up with the Metro Blue Line. “I’ve come to count on you. But lately, well, you’ve changed. Almost every day now you make me and my fellow riders wait,” Wilson writes. Los Angeles Times



Garcetti wants a blowout: There’s little doubt that Mayor Eric Garcetti will win reelection next month, but “reelection by a huge margin over his 10 obscure rivals would strengthen Garcetti’s standing to run next year for governor or U.S. Senate.” So running up the score is a real priority. Los Angeles Times

A day of regret: A San Leandro store owner was so ashamed that he voted for President Trump, he closed the five Oakland markets he runs in solidarity with the Day Without Immigrants protest. San Francisco Chronicle

To Trump or not to Trump? Some state politicians are growing sick of talking about what’s happening 2,374 miles away in Washington, while others just love all this Donald Trump talk. Sacramento Bee



Stunning Durst testimony: During testimony Thursday in Robert Durst’s murder trial, a key witness told jurors that, before she was killed, writer Susan Berman told him that Robert Durst confessed to killing his wife Kathleen Durst. Los Angeles Times

Big corruption charges revealed: Two of Palm Springs’ major developers and the city’s former mayor have been charged with public corruption along with a slew of other felonies for a bribery scheme that netted the then-mayor $375,000, the Riverside district attorney said. Los Angeles Times

The charges explained: The newspaper that first broke these corruption allegations against ex-mayor Steve Pougnet and his associates explains what crimes allegedly were committed. The Desert Sun

Gangs in the Valley under the microscope: Community leaders in the West Valley are happy that the LAPD is studying gang activity in the area after homicides jumped by 14% last year. Los Angeles Daily News



Bees in demand: Climate change and the proliferation of certain pesticides are cited as two possible reasons for why the bee population has been decimated in recent years. This has led to the demand for one California farmer’s bees to skyrocket as agriculture producers look for little workers to pollinate their crops. New York Times


It’s closing time: This is big for those who enjoy late nights out on the town. New legislation introduced in the state Senate would, if passed, allow bars to stay open to 4 a.m. Currently bars must close up shop by 2 a.m. Los Angeles Times


A tasty treat: The Museum of Ice Cream will be moving west from New York and opening up in Los Angeles very soon. Condé Nast Traveler

Glam guide to L.A.: Check out this guide map to Eve Babitz’s glam L.A. of the 1960s and ’70s, drawn from her books. Curbed LA

Route 66 spruce-up: Two pieces of legislation in Congress would provide a steady stream of funding to help preserve, rehabilitate and promote the famed Route 66, which goes from Chicago to Los Angeles. Press Enterprise

Watch: Here’s a great 360-degree video of the bees on a Kern County farm that help pollinate almond groves. New York Times



San Diego and Los Angeles area: lots of rain Friday and Saturday. Sacramento and San Francisco area: rain Friday, partly cloudy Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Sharon Wells:


“Shortly after I moved to L.A. in the ’90s, my boyfriend and I got Rollerblades and went blading on the beach path. As the daughter of a Navy pilot, I spent my early years in different parts of California but had never done anything like that before. We headed north from Venice toward the Santa Monica Pier. As I became more confident in this new sport (swaddled in knee and wrist pads!), I looked to my left and saw the taupe sand with ribbons of white foam from the waves playing on the blue, blue ocean, felt the warmth of the sun shining boldly in an open sky, inhaled the briny air and was overcome with pure joy and gratitude. To this day when I’m on the beach path on a bike or blades, that memory as a young woman, along with the realization that I still get to be there, continues to fill me with joy and gratitude.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.