Hurriquake (#360)

We had a little excitement over the weekend. Historic excitement, even.

Southern California has its share of disasters. When I moved west, I knew I was trading in hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards, and locusts (or at least cicadas) for earthquakes and wildfires. (My son Dalton thinks this was a shit trade; he is green with envy every winter, when his cousins get “snow days” and have no school.)

My partner Andy thought he was leaving hurricanes when he moved from Hawaii. You know why? Because meteorologists have long said Southern California’s coastal waters were too cold for a hurricane to survive and the winds send storms back out to the Pacific.

Last week, Hurricane Hilary made a beeline for us. Thanks to the fossil fuel industry’s greed, the Pacific Ocean has warmed up quite a bit.

Now, technically, Hilary was downgraded to a tropical storm before crossing over from Mexico into the United States. So, yes, we still haven’t officially had a hurricane (let me get that out before white bros start “well actually-ing” the crap out of my comments section). But SoCal and its Maine-like water temperatures were supposed to be relatively safe from tropical storms, too.

Fuck you, Exxon.

Next up on our bingo card: ice-storm, probably. Courtesy of Shell and all the white men insisting on driving jacked up pickup trucks to prove their toxic masculinity. May all y’all drive those trucks into the rising waters and get swept away in a rush of double irony.

Even though meteorologists were always very clear that Hilary would only be a tropical storm by the time she reached us, a tropical storm still meant way more rainfall than SoCal usually gets. 4 inches of rain is a pittance on the East Coast. In SoCal, we get maybe 10 inches a year—4 inches is a DELUGE! In our inland deserts? Death Valley gets 2 inches annually.

So on Friday, Dalton and I cleaned out the rain gutters. (He’s young enough that climbing on the roof is exciting, plus he’s lighter than his parents and less likely to damage the shingles, plus didn’t you know conservatives are bringing back child labor?) After the city cut down the seven trees around our house, gutter-cleaning was far easier than in past years, but in the rain gutters Dalton discovered dirt, 3 drill bits, one entire rusted drill nose/ bit, and several metal cylinders (probably from our solar installation last year).

Meanwhile, Andy reapplied caulk around the roof vents. He tucked away all his pots and gardening supplies in the garage and shed. Any light furniture, yard signs, and cushions went into the garage.

We were ready for the worst, even as we watched Hilary’s projected storm track move further and further from the coast.

Normally, we get strong afternoon winds blowing in from the ocean. Saturday, those winds died. Andy informed me that this was typical pre-hurricane weather: hot, humid, and still.

SoCal’s nighttime temperatures normally drop as much as 20 degrees, thanks to our lack of humidity.

Sunday morning, as Hilary approached, was even hotter than Saturday afternoon. When I checked the doppler, the majority of the rain was passing to the east of us.

Occasionally the sky would spit, but we didn’t get light rain until about 11 AM.

It didn’t cool off a darn thing.

This was my phone yesterday.

At about 2:40 PM, the rainfall got heavier. As I shifted in my chair to look out the window, the house seemed to move. I had a split second to wonder if the barometric pressure changes were giving me vertigo before my phone started screaming “Emergency Alert!”

One flooding alert for Hilary.

And one for a 5.5 earthquake.

As SoCal social media alternated between gleeful “#Hurriquake” and gloomy “#FML,” thankfully someone in Los Angeles office of the National Weather Service quickly tweeted that a tsunami was NOT expected, post-earthquake.

Alas for #Hurriquanami.

The quake did no damage to us, since the epicenter was far to the north. (No injuries or serious damage, just a lot of broken glass in Ojai.) The worst storm systems went around us on both sides of the Los Angeles basin, proving once again that geography has an impact on weather. We finally got some cooler winds and heavier rain by about 7 PM.

Our area got about 2.5″ of rain in exchange for a few tree limbs down and loss of power. I invited neighbors to come by and recharge at our house (thanks to our powerwall), but power was restored before anyone got that desperate.

Palm Springs and Coachella Valley were far less fortunate.

Several school districts canceled classes today.

Our school district, however, is still on summer break.

Dalton is rather bitter about this: “That was probably the best chance to have school canceled for weather!”

“Give it time, dude. Our climate is heading for extremes. You could still get a snow day.”

“That will NEVER happen in LA, Mom.”

“They said the same thing about hurricanes once, buddy.”

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

23 thoughts on “Hurriquake (#360)”

  1. This white girl is with you, having spent the summer in the hellhole that was south Louisiana (if hell is so hot and humid that it never cooled off, ever). Normally I live in the northwest where we like to think we’re not going to be as impacted by climate change, but I came back to a heat dome, followed by unhealthy air quality from wildfire smoke. Yeah, fuck those guys.

    1. OMG, you were in the other LA! For the summer! You have all my sympathies. And you have all my wildfire/ air quality sympathy as well. We got AC a few years ago primarily to deal with increasing SoCal wildfire smoke, which is brutal on Andy’s asthma. I hope Canada gets some rain soon.

  2. Every time I read about scientists inventing something that helps with climate change, I have a bit of hope. Then I find out that only 54% of Americans believe that human activity is responsible for climate change. And then there’s the problem of how many are willing to do how much about it. Public opinion is changing, but how fast. And yet, I’m hopeful.

    Here in NW WA, we’ve had a lovely summer, but now the smoky season is upon us.

    1. We will probably get to at least 25% of Americans believing in climate change. And more natural disasters may speed up the realization. I don’t hold out any hope for the quarter of our population that is evangelical, though. How can you believe in the science behind global warming if you can’t even believe in vaccines? Any chance of rain for the PNW and Canada anytime soon?

  3. I read your post first hoping you were ok and I was rewarded with that and a proper tongue lashing for the white evangelicals. I recently met a guy who was raised by crazy pious “Christians.” Like no TV, only church music, the girls in long cotton dresses (to make them stick out more at school), etc. He turned in to a rock drummer and toured with bands for many years. He gave me hope that people can think for themselves. Sometimes. Maybe. But not when it hits their pocketbook. Happy that you did ok.

    1. It’s so hard to beat the any indoctrination that happens before the human brain hits six years old. (Which is why good parenting is basically trying to indoctrinate your child into good citizenship, kindness, and compassion.) But some people are able to break out and see the absurdity and hypocrisy rampant among evangelicals, while others, raised in a more secular environment, are attracted to it later in life.

  4. Couple thoughts:

    1) If anyone gives you crap out something not being a hurricane tell them that neither the crumpled car in the street nor the tree that fell on it care if the storm was downgraded before it hit.

    2) It’s bleakly amusing that the WGA is on strike now, because it won’t be a professional writing the spec script for “Hurriquake the Movie starring Tara Reid and some other guy from 90210 or Melrose Place.”

    1. I am sure the AI that writes “Hurriquake: Nowhere to Run” will do an amazing job. But I am pretty sure it will be Dean Cain and Jim Caviezel.

      Also, I had to laugh (bleakly) over the social media posts showing that our climate change hurricane would put out our climate change fires.

      1. The ones who were being ironic about the hurricane putting out the fires are fine, but anyone who really meant that climate change is no big deal should be beaten to death using Dean Cain and Jim Caviezel.

        1. I think everyone was being ironic. At least here in CA. So using Jim and Dean will have to happen elsewhere, where some evangelical idiot is all, “See, God will provide! God is good!”

  5. I was attending middle school in Hawaii when a hurricane hit Honolulu. It was the first and only time classes on Oahu were cancelled due to weather in all the years I lived there.

    The GOP in Wisconsin is trying to abolish those child labor laws, too. But our Democrat governor is going to veto the hell out of those attempts.

    1. Dalton is very jealous of your “hurricane day” on Oahu. (He is the only one.) Hooray for Democratic governors. The alternative is insanity. (Don’t you miss Kristi Norm so, so much?!)

  6. It’s difficult to know how much more difficult our weather patterns are going to be. What you experienced unscathed is probably just a teaser, but I hope I am wrong.

  7. OK, you win, without a shadow of a doubt. We’ve have a troublesome few weeks, but at least the physical world wasn’t trying to kill us. Glad you’re all OK, sorry to hear that Dalton still wants a hurricane or tsunami. Kids eh! 😉

    1. We were glad of the rain, and weren’t too overwhelmed. Even with all that humidity, I’d take my hurriquake over your summer of red tape and ‘helpful” family members.

  8. This isn’t the end of it, but I do hope the weather settles for you, even though I know we can never guarantee calm weather. We have to face an unpredicatable climatic future. Stay safe.

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