More rainbows on the way

Rainbows and green lawns are the result of last week’s rainstorms that, according to Descanso Gardens, brought in 4.6 inches of rain from Feb. 3-10 to La Cañada. And there is more on the way.

“Looks like rain starting on Friday all the way through, on and off, to Presidents’ Day,” said Stuart Seto, weather specialist at the National Weather Service. “And it looks like there may be another [storm] coming in on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.”

It appeared that La Cañada drivers were getting used to the wet weather conditions. According to Sgt. Mark Slater of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, deputies did not see an increase in traffic collisions. The fact that Foothill Boulevard was clear without any road construction may have played a role in the low accident rate.

“And it looks like our drivers were driving safely in the rain,” Slater said.

It also appeared that freeway drivers were getting the rain safety message as well.

From Feb. 6 -10, there were five traffic investigations by the California Highway Patrol on the Foothill (210) Freeway from the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway to Huntington Drive, according to Officer Andre Primeaux.

He added that the number seemed extremely low for rain days.

With more rain on the way, Primeaux reminds drivers that there is one safety tip to keep in mind. “It’s simple. Slow down,” he said. “Motorists seem to believe the speed limit is absolute, however in poor weather it is more than appropriate to slow down to a speed they feel comfortable with in order to avoid hydroplaning.”

Hydroplaning is when water on the surface of the road accumulates in front of a vehicle’s tires. The vehicle slides on the top of a thin layer of water between the tires and the road. This can cause the vehicle to drift and make it difficult for the driver to stay in control, especially at a high rate of speed.

“Also it is important to drive without making sudden jerks to the steering wheels or slamming on the brakes,” he said.

These actions, despite the speed, can increase the vehicle’s chances of hydroplaning, he explained.

There were no reports to the CV Sheriff’s Station of any structural damage due to the rain.

The much-needed rain may seem to have contradicted the recent report of a La Niña condition brewing in the Pacific Ocean, but Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Bill Patzert is sticking to the dry winter warning. La Niña, is a weather pattern that happens when temperatures in the Pacific Ocean cool bringing snow and cold to the Midwest while Southern California will experience drier conditions.

“Definitely [La Niña] is still here,” Patzert said.

He explained that all the rain the area is receiving now really doesn’t have an effect on the years of drought Southern California has been dealing with.

What matters for the state’s water supply is the snow pack, which is still low.

“In 1950 there were only four million people in the state, now we are pushing 30 million,” he said. “The rain may green everything up but it is not a drought buster.”

Water rationing is not yet imposed in La Cañada but in a recent interview with Nina Jazmadarian, general manager for Foothill Municipal Water District, she explained that conservation remains on a volunteer basis. That could change depending on the rainfall and snow pack.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California had its sixth warmest January on record and the ninth driest on record for the state.

So even with more rain on the way and puddles piling up, it is important to remember to be water wise.

“Get ready to use your water more rationally so you don’t have to ration it drastically this summer,” Patzert said.

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