But the rash of foul weather probably won't do much to help the state's drought.

Southern California is a special place where the weather's so sunny and pleasant that a spritz of rain can mean gridlock on the highways. So imagine the excitement these past couple days as powerful storms rode into town, dropping ice on the beaches and churning up ethereal funnel clouds.

Photographer Brian Hawkins caught Sunday's pair of funnels spinning off the coast of Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County. Shown above, they look like half-formed water spouts—whipping columns of air and mist that are generally weaker than tornadoes. Squished between them in the distance is a solitary sailboat that was "booking it across the water," writes Hawkins.

Observers on nearby Catalina Island spotted at least one waterspout:

Hawkins reports the funnels were extinguished after about five minutes. But then, on Monday, somebody spotted this wormy apparition in the clouds. Meteorologist Jim Cantore calls it a funnel cloud, though another guy thinks it's more likely a scud cloud. (Another witness verifies a funnel was definitely in the neighborhood.)

What's less in dispute is the white stuff covering Huntington Beach on Monday. It's not snow, but a carpet-bombing of small hailstones:

Just to make a note of it, this rash of foul weather will probably have little effect on California's drought, which is presently afflicting 93 percent of the state.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  3. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.

  4. a map of the Mayan Train route in Mexico
    Environment

    Mexico’s ‘Mayan Train’ Is Bound for Controversy

    President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s signature rail project would link cities and tourist sites in the Yucatan with rural areas and rainforests.

  5. A gun-control rally in Pittsburgh's Market Square, Saturday, March 24, 2018.
    Equity

    Inside Pittsburgh's Battle Over Gun Control Laws

    Pittsburgh could be the bellwether city in Pennsylvania, defying state law to pass gun control ordinances, but first it has to get past its own district attorney.