Golden state, gray skies

Rainy days in Southern California are reason for celebration

“Guess what?” My sister looked up at me with a glint in her eye, turning her phone for me to see. “It’s raining this weekend!”

We both broke into excited smiles, cheering and telling the rest of our family the news. Having lived in Southern California our whole lives, we know that rain is a rare occurrence. With the desert-like climate and the never-changing seasons, my sister and I rejoice at even the slightest rainfall.

However, many of my friends and family members sigh in frustration when they hear that the weather will be on the colder side. They complain of California’s notorious traffic becoming more chaotic along with the colder weather preventing them from doing anything.

But I think my sister and I have the right idea about the rain. While it can be inconvenient, California rain should be celebrated rather than dreaded.

Unfortunately, it never rains here; it barely ever gets cold. All it takes for us to abandon our sandals for fuzzy socks is a drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Southern California is located in a desert-like region where dryness and heat is the norm. According to meteorologist Jonathan Erdman, Southern California is sunny 90 percent of the time with no rain several months in a row.

The Santa Ana winds of the West Coast feed raging wildfires annually. Especially this year, we have seen just how destructive those flames can be to our environment and homes. Since we live in the Chaparral biome where mainly dry and brittle vegetation grows, our landscape is like natural kindling for a fire.

While our sunny climate is the perfect excuse to lounge on the beach, the heat leaves our coasts charred and ashen on a yearly basis.

Rain is a blessing for this land. After months of parched dryness, water gives life to the ecosystems of our state. Additionally, the rainfall provides us with the necessary water supply to counteract the several droughts that we have faced over the years.

That’s why I find it so special when it rains here: our environment desperately needs it.

Even so, there will still be Californians who reject the idea that rainy days can be just as beautiful as sunny ones. After all, on a rainy day the beaches are too blustery, the roads are too congested and there’s no excuse to wear our trademark t-shirts and shorts.

No one likes it gray in the Golden State.

But perhaps the days when we can’t do anything are the most important ones. On a rainy day, from the warmth of our homes, we are forced to stop. The world moves so fast, and we’re always speeding through life, changing lanes constantly to get to where we’re going. Instead of seeing the weather as a roadblock, we need to see it as a sign; a sign that tells us to slow down.

When our weather apps prophesize a gloomy, rainy day, my sister and I obsess over the opportunity to read a good book undisturbed and really feel the Earth turn. On those days, it’s as if the world pauses for a moment to take a deep breath.

You can almost hear the sun-baked hills of California sigh in relief as the first drops hit the soil.