2001-03-15 / Front Page

Agoura Hills may be wettest in L.A. County

Agoura Hills may be wettest in L.A. County

By John Loesing

Acorn Staff Writer

Swimming pools are filled to the brim and rain gutters work overtime, but the best way to tell that the area has received more than ample rain this season is by the gauges used by meteorologists.

The Los Angeles County Public Works Department, operator of the flood control districts, receives rainfall information from 71 automatic gauges throughout the county. Individuals take manual readings at another 150 sites countywide.

A busy spot for rain tabulation this year has been Agoura Hills where one of the automatic gauges is located.

Almost 24 inches were recorded in the city as of March 6, according to the public works department. Eight to 10 inches fell in the area during the first week of March alone.

Average rainfall in Agoura Hills stands at 17.5 inches as measured each season from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Over three inches fell on March 6, but that wasn’t the city’s biggest day. The gauge registered 4.89 inches on Jan. 10.

Agoura Hills officials said property held up well despite a persistent Pacific storm that lingered off the coast for a week. No major flooding occurred on streets or sidewalks, but a crumbling hillside threatened the backyard of a home at the corner of Eagleton Street and Pisces Street in the Fountainwood area, according to Dave Adams, city manager.

The slide was contained, but other hillsides in the city remain soaked to capacity.

The rain also caused saturation on Ladyface Mountain, the city landmark just south of Agoura Road.

"In the past we’ve seen a waterfall coming off the mountain, last week there were two," Adams said.

Some of the biggest rainfall totals in the entire county have been recorded in Agoura Hills this season, according to officials.

"We’re dealing with higher elevations and things like that," said Rodney Brown, a public works spokesman. "We have different cells in certain areas and some areas won’t get as much rainfall. It varies."

Just a few miles away in Calabasas, for example, the season total is 21 inches compared to 24 inches for Agoura Hills.

Like Agoura Hills, Calabasas rainfall is about three inches above normal, said Betty-Jeanne Farmer, a citizen who operates a county rain gauge at her home in Old Town.

Guess what, Farmer said. There’s still plenty of time left this season for even more rain.

"It’s not really unusual, but I really wish it would go away for a while," Farmer said. "Sometimes we’ll get a string of one or two inches in a day."

Farmer and her husband collect the rain in an old metal cylinder located in their backyard, the same instrument they’ve used for years. Farmer’s father-in-law began taking measurements at the house in the 1920s and the job has been in the family ever since.

Farmer said the last big rainy season was 1998 when El Nino dumped over 41 inches on Calabasas. It was the year when normal rainfall amounts doubled and more than 20 inches fell on the Farmers’ rain gauge in February alone.

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