The True Impact Of California Rains


Natalie Waters

Water from recent rains floods a road in Ojai, California

Natalie Waters, Photojournalist

On the day of New Year’s Eve, California residents were blessed with rainfall after a long dry year in 2022. However, the rain continued to fall for many days after, and 2023 has begun with record precipitation and cataclysmic flooding across the state. A series of floods, road blockages, and landslides occurred across California. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Highway 1 was closed in many places including Huntington Beach and Santa Barbara due to flooding. Highway 2 was closed in both directions from Pacific Coast Highway to Viewridge Road. Also, the 101 Freeway was blocked in many places in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The closing of these major roads, along with many more, made it difficult for students to get to school, people to travel, or working individuals to get to their jobs. 

Many places propped up on hills and mountains lived in fear during the first month of the new year, as their homes were extremely susceptible to landslides from the heavy rainfall. Santa Barbara is an important city to note, as they experienced massive amounts of rainfall and excessive flooding, blocking many major highways. Also, many homes along the coast in Santa Barbara were damaged due to the severe storms in early January. Nasa has found that the floods, road closures, and debris flow have led to over a billion dollars in damage. The state has received rainfall totals of 400-600 percent above average. Some areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara received up to sixteen inches of rain within two days.

According to the Washington Post, twenty four trillion gallons of water have fallen in the state of California since late December of 2022. Dry and dehydrated farmland has been displaced by turbulent rivers and detrimental flooding. 

rains have been a benefit to California, since we have been in a severe drought for so long

— Naomi Peralta

Throughout all the negative effects the rain has had on the state, there are some positive aspects of California’s record breaking rainfall. For one, the rain has had significant impacts on California’s drought. Naomi Peralta finds that the rains have been “a benefit to California, since we have been in a severe drought for so long.” Through the thousands of years of dry skies and hot weather, it’s understandable that the inches of rain the state just received would not impair the entire drought; not by a long shot. However, there has been an incredible improvement and it’s been a giant leap toward a healthier environment.