UPDATE NO. 3, DEC. 16, 4:46 P.M.: Mario Alberto Hernandez Lucio died from drowning and no foul play is suspected, according to a Garden Grove Police Department statement that also slightly alters the name of the deceased.
UPDATE NO. 2, DEC. 12, 2:41 P.M.: The man who was found dead in a Garden Grove flood control channel this morning has been identified as Mario Alberto Hernandez,* 34, Garden Grove. *Police now say he was Mario Alberto Hernandez Lucio.
The cause of his death won't be known before a coroner's examination early next week, said Lt. Ben Stauffer, the Garden Grove Police spokesman.
UPDATE NO. 1, DEC. 12, 10:45 A.M.: The body of a man was pulled out of a Garden Grove flood channel by a swift water rescue team this morning, police said.
Someone walking in the area of Ward Street north of McFadden Avenue just before 7:30 a.m. saw what appeared to be a dead body in the flood control channel to the east, said Lt. Ben Stauffer, the Garden Grove Police spokesman. Responding officers could see the body of a male wearing blue jeans stuck on the center pillar leading into the flood control ditch tunnel that goes under Ward Street.
Water was flowing at high speeds through the channel, so a swift water rescue was employed to retrieve the body, explained Stauffer, who added police detectives were at the scene to investigate the circumstances of the death and to identify the victim. The coroner's office has also been contacted.
A flash-flood warning remains in effect through 11:30 a.m. in the Silverado Canyon burn area, and an urban and small stream flash flood warning remains in effect through 10:45 a.m. in the rest of Orange County, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Continued moderate to heavy rainfall has raised the a risk of flash flooding, rock slides, mud slides and rivers of debris in Silverado, where the Orange County Emergency Operations Center imposed mandatory evacuations last night.
"This is a dangerous situation for Silverado Canyon residents," warns the NWS, "and immediate measures should be taken to protect life and property. ... Mud slides and rock slides can potentially trap and kill people caught in their path."
Across the border in Long Beach, a two-story building in the 3100 block of Los Coyotes Diagonal was damaged today when a railing on an upper floor walkway on the outside of the structure collapsed, possibly as a result of the overnight rainstorm, according to authorities.
The building has four apartments on the upper floor and three or four businesses on the first floor, all of which have been red-tagged as unsafe for occupancy, according to the fire department.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 9, 7 A.M.: Rain that will first hit the Pacific Northwest and then spread down until it hits central California by mid-week is expected to arrive in Orange County on Friday, and forecasters predict another storm is coming the following week, which is good news in this drought-stricken state. But like water scientists, weather forecasters say the approaching wet weather will not make up for the water we've lost in the drought.
"This wet weather pattern is good news for the ongoing drought in the West as it will bring another dose of beneficial rainfall to the areas being affected the most by extreme drought," says Brian Lada, AccuWeather.com meteorologist, on the one hand.
"Water reservoirs will have another opportunity to build up their levels following the storm that soaked the state last week. However, it will take many more rainstorms for the water reservoirs to be restored to normal levels," Lada says on the other hand.
It's a view that fits into the UC Irvine/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory research recently featured in a Weekly cover story. Water scientist James Famiglietti likens the Golden State's groundwater situation to a bank account. We've withdrawn so much that these winter deposits won't do enough to get us back to our normal balance.
Not that we shouldn't try to capture falling rain as LA County Public Works did to the tune of 1.8 billion gallons of water from last week's storm. "To put this in perspective, that is enough drinking water to meet the needs of 44,000 people for one year," Lada notes.
Famiglietti has said that in addition to capturing more rain and turning to technology to produce more drinking water from non-potable sources, we need to step up conservation pronto. He made that point at a Nov. 24 gathering of water experts and policymakers at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and many agreed with him.
Participants did call for expanded use of water recycling, stormwater capture, smart meters for consumers, permeable pavement, graywater systems and investment in water infrastructure to eliminate loss. And they called for keeping desalination and improved efficiency of Delta transfers "on the table."
But more immediately, participants from Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) also called for more public education and exploring tiered water pricing to reflect high use and protect the least able to pay; as well as restrictions on outdoor water use for lawns, highway medians, cemeteries, large commercial landscapes and golf courses.
And, in a note to something Famiglietti has also sought, the experts believe we need to inventory, clean up and better manage groundwater for sustainable use, just as we currently do with surface water in rivers, lakes and streams.
"The forum participants have come up with tremendous ideas to move California forward when it comes to water conservation," observed Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department, which co-sponsored the gathering with the city and aquarium. "Long Beach is already a leader in water conservation, and we look forward to implementing new measures to do even better."
Perhaps that ability will jump over the LA County border to Orange County, where the Register recently reported on water usage having grown in some parts of the county despite the drought.
Or, the county could just spend $5.3 million to restore our depleted reservoirs to 83 percent in three to six months using Natural Weather, "a new frequency-generating technology that restores balance to Nature," according to a Beverly Hills flack.
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After the Weekly's drought story hit the streets, we were pointed by the flack to his client: spiritual healer and developer David Adelson, who has "created 200+ programs and technologies to help restore balance to individuals and nature." Based on ancient Vedic wisdom (the origins of yoga/meditation) and modern quantum physics, Adelson's technology has already averted forest fires in Texas, tornadoes in Oklahoma and hurricanes in Florida, he boasts.
Each Natural Weather unit costs $5.3 million and California will require six units to return our water levels to normalcy. "Hopefully, brilliant businessmen will see that, although this is a risk, the payoff would more than make it worth it for this five-year project," says Adelson, who is "looking for a number of farmers and business folk who are tired of losing money and willing to share the costs."
Brilliant farmers and business folks who read the Weekly can find out where to cut the checks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll leave our shower running in the meantime to see if it works.