Trust government weather / Follow your pen

Colorful U.S. National Weather Service map, showing clickable regions offering detailed local forecasts
Image: U.S. National Weather Service

Today: Diana Moskovitz, investigations editor, writer, and co-owner of Defector; and Jim Cooke, art director, illustrator and designer for digital journalism and print media, currently at Los Angeles Times.


Issue No. 20

Storm Watch
Diana Moskovitz

Sketch Book: No. 1
Jim Cooke


Storm Watch

by Diana Moskovitz

Los Angeles was not built for weather. It was built for movie shoots, beach volleyball tournaments, and endless sunny days. There are drains but they do not drain well. There are lines painted on the street, but they are faint and at times hard to see at night, let alone during a downpour. The street signs are too small, the on-ramps are too short, the buildings rarely have awnings, and, frankly, live here long enough and you might forget how to turn on the defrost setting in a car. How else to explain how I, a native Floridian and the veteran of multiple hurricanes, now sometimes cannot find my own umbrella?

At one time, Angelenos’ main fear was the dreaded Big One, which is still very legitimate for those of us living along the San Andreas Fault. But lately, our minds have shifted from Will the MyShake app alert me in time? (depends on how you define “in time”) to an uncomfortable awareness of the streams of atmospheric rivers slamming into the state. The torrential rains have turned Southern Californians into something strange and foreign: People who need to check the weather. And given the ever-increasing occurrences of extreme weather, here as everywhere, this new reality is likely here to stay. 

It’s a paywall, but a small one

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