Malibu Weather—After Drought Comes Deluge: Winter Wends Its Way in Watery Waves
• A Troika of Pacific Storms Brings Promise of Sufficient Rainfall to Suppress Local Fire Danger
BY ANNE SOBLE
BY ANNE SOBLE
The new year is getting off to a start with more of the meteorological bipolarity that is becoming the norm for Malibu’s weather patterns. This week’s winds and unseasonably high temperatures are—and once again the weather experts are in complete unity in their forecasts—slated to give way to a one-two-three sequence of Pacific storms that are capable of giving the community the heaviest cumulative rainfall it’s received since this time of year in 2005.
Residents in the burn areas and along local water courses are being warned of the potential for flash flooding. City and county public safety officials remind those in vulnerable areas of the need for preparation, such as cleared flood channels, so fast-moving water does not back up.
Malibu fire stations have sandbags for the filling, and private prefilled sandbag contractors report a brisk local business since the latest weather forecasts were first announced. Jute and other materials for instant channeling are also in demand as homeowners contemplate the various alternatives for runoff management.
Even Malibu water courses that barely contain an inch of sluggish water at mid-week could start flowing fiercely if three to five days of steady rainfall accumulates. The rain sequence slated to kick off on Thursday is expected to grow in intensity as it wends its way southward.
The heaviest rain is being forecast for Friday into Saturday from the second of the storm systems, which will possibly be accompanied by the kind of powerful winds that have so dominated local weather patterns in recent weeks—but without the accompanying fire danger. However, safety officials warn that downed power lines and trees can be just as perilous when triggered by intense downpours as they are when the humidity hovers at zero.
The effect of the local mountain terrain on rainfall totals also mandates increased attention to potential debris flows from burn areas, further compounding the problems of fast-moving water that results from heavy rainfall.
The third system from Saturday into Sunday is expected to pack a lesser, albeit colder punch. Locals who may have already experienced plant damage from low temperatures in the last quarter of 2007 are reminded to take landscaping precautions. Tropicals are especially vulnerable and should be protected from the cold.
The storms are also expected to usher in a large westerly swell. This will bring high surf conditions to west-facing beaches and the reminder that stormy seas should be respected.