Downtown Los Angeles and San Jacinto Peak

Downtown Los Angeles and San Jacinto Peak

Downtown Los Angeles, with San Jacinto Peak in the background, approximately 110 miles distant. San Jacinto Peak is a bit over 10,800 feet in elevation.

The photograph was taken from a viewpoint off the Temescal Ridge Trail while doing a loop from the End of Reseda to Will Rogers State Park earlier this month.

Some related posts: San Jacinto Peak and Tahquitz Peak Trail Run, Skiing San Jacinto, Mountain Weather

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Winter Colony of Crows in Cheeseboro Canyon

Winter colony of crows in Cheeseboro Canyon

With a storm approaching and rain only an hour or two away, I’d been debating where to turn around. I’d just climbed the steep hill between Upper Las Virgenes Canyon and Cheeseboro Ridge and decided to continue down to Cheeseboro Canyon. As I drew closer to the trail’s junction with Cheeseboro Canyon, I began to hear a cacophony of cawing crows.

At the junction crows literally filled the sky (video). It seemed the call was out and crows were coming from all directions to join the flock.

Though I’d never seen such a large aggregation in Cheeseboro Canyon, it is common for the American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) to form large foraging and roosting flocks in winter. Winter is tough on animals and isn’t surprising that the social and intelligent crow would cope with Winter in this cooperative fashion.

Leaving the crows behind I started the trip back to the Victory trailhead. It would take about an hour and I hoped the rain didn’t get there before I did!

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Los Angeles Rainfall Above Normal, But…

Study of mud on the Musch Trail in Southern California

As of yesterday Downtown Los Angeles (USC) has recorded 8.80 inches of rainfall for both the Rainfall Year (July 1 – June 30) and Water Year (October 1 – September 30). By either measure Los Angeles rainfall is well above normal, and with three well-advertised storms in the forecast it looks like Los Angeles rainfall could remain above normal for at least a few weeks.

Even if it has been a bit wet — and muddy — it’s been great to have a more normal rain season. The rain has been very beneficial and has impacted the drought, at least in the short term. Just how much a continued wet rain season would impact the drought in the long term is a question that has to wait for future analysis.

There has been a five year precipitation deficit of nearly 36 inches at Downtown Los Angeles (USC). It’s hard to appreciate the size of this deficit while running in the rain, splashing through puddles, and trying not to slip in the mud. One tangible indicator of this deficit is that despite above average rainfall, many creeks in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills have remained dry or are barely flowing. Some have been dry for years.

Upper Las Virgenes Creek – Last checked yesterday, January 17, 2017. Was not flowing near the Cheeseboro connector. Puddled water in places.

Garapito Creek – Last checked January 15, 2017. The north branch was just starting to flow, but the south branch was still dry.

Upper Sycamore Creek – Was not flowing on January 1, 2017.

Serrano Creek – Was not flowing on January 1, 2017. Puddled water in places.

If the wet forecast holds will these streams start to flow? We’ll see!

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Rainy December for Los Angeles

Century City and Downtown Los Angeles

Updated January 4, 2017.

Not since the beginning of the drought has Downtown Los Angeles experienced such a wet December. As of December 31, 2016:

• December rainfall was 2.22 inches above the monthly normal of 2.33 inches.

• The 4.55 inches of rain recorded was the wettest December since December 2010 and the most for any month since January 2010.

Since the Rain Year began July 1, 5.95 inches of rain has fallen at Downtown Los Angeles (USC). This is 1.63 inches above the normal July-December rainfall of 4.32 inches. It is the best start to the Rain Year (Jul 1-Jun 30) and Water Year (Oct 1-Sep 30) since 2010.

The photograph of Century City and Downtown was taken from Temescal Ridge while doing the Will Rogers – Temescal Canyon loop from the End of Reseda Saturday (December 24). According to NWS records Downtown Los Angeles recorded 2.32 inches of rain from December 21 to December 24..

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The Tree

Drought-stressed Valley Oak at Ahmanson Ranch - The Tree

As I climbed the long hill, the wind began to increase, gusting fitfully in one direction and then another. Chilled, I stopped to pull on my sleeves. As I tugged at one sleeve the setting sun suddenly broke under the patchwork of clouds, illuminating the hills in a wonderful — but fleeting — golden light.

Such situations can be anticipated, but not planned. In a matter of minutes the sun would set, or a stray cloud would block the sun. Camera in hand I continued to the top of the hill, hoping to see and not just shoot for the sake of shooting.

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Advancing Clouds

leading edge of the cloud shield associated with a cut-off upper level low southwest of the Los Angeles. December 20, 2016.

On my run today (Tuesday), the leading edge of the cloud shield associated with a cut-off upper level low southwest of the Los Angeles began to move into the area.

Systems such as this are notoriously difficult to forecast and computer models (and forecasters) often disagree. In this case the wetter solution won the day with a half-inch of rainfall being recorded at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) Wednesday evening.

The storm increased December’s rainfall total in Los Angeles to 2.26 inches — about 0.88 inch above normal for the month.

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Images taken on trail runs, and other adventures, in the Open Space and Wilderness areas of California, and beyond. All content, including photography, is Copyright © 2006-2016 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.