Southern California got another dose of heavy surf and light rain mixed with now-and-then offerings of blue sky and bright sunshine Wednesday, and the National Weather Service said that is about how things will go until next week.
The surf tapered off to eight-foot breakers with occasional 10-foot rogues during the morning--which was enough to keep a few west-facing beaches closed and do a little more damage to the decaying timbers of the Ventura Pier. But forecasters said the worst was over, and there were already a few reckless surfers trying their luck off more protected parts of the coastline.
A small-craft advisory kept most boats tied up at docks through the day, and travelers advisories were in effect for gusty winds and blowing sand in the deserts, while mountain resorts continued to report new snow above 5,000 feet.
Even Las Vegas was having its troubles. Rain continued to fall there throughout the afternoon as the edge of the latest storm passed through, and there were reports of flooding at underpasses and at dips in streets and highways.
High temperature at Los Angeles Civic Center on Wednesday was 67 degrees, with relative humidity ranging from 65% to 86%. Only .06 of an inch of rain had fallen by 4 p.m.--bringing the season total to 14.24 inches, more than two inches above the amount that is considered normal for this time of year.
The central Los Angeles rainfall was less than a drop in the bucket, however, compared to Palomar Mountain, where 1.45 inches of rain fell, or Fallbrook, which recorded .58 of an inch; Torrance, which had .53; La Mesa, with .50; Santa Barbara, with .39, or Santa Ana, with .30.
New damage to the Ventura Pier, portions of which are nearly 100 years old, was minimal, according to authorities who said they still plan to make it the focus of a centennial celebration next month. Nonetheless, surf that struck Feb. 1 did considerable damage to its pilings and superstructure, and the landmark has been closed periodically for the past six weeks.
Los Angeles County lifeguards closed Manhattan Beach throughout the day and kept everyone out of the water from time to time in several other places. But a few miles to the south, more than 100 surfers were in the water off Seal Beach, which is partially protected in the lee of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor breakwaters.
Meteorologists said the Southland's epidemic of stormy weather was due to a minor southward shift of the jet stream--which came in response to the disappearance of a high-pressure area that usually guards the coastline.
They pointed out that Southern California is usually spared the brunt of any storm coming in from the Pacific.
For example, they said, another weather system is approaching the Oregon coast, but it is expected to split into two unequal halves with the weaker portion passing through the Los Angeles area sometime today, offering only about a 30% chance of light rain before it moves away to hurl more rain, snow and winds rising to 45 m.p.h. at the deserts and mountains.