LA tries to cope with rain in a place where rain is rare

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El Nino effects - Los Angeles specifically
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LA tries to cope with rain in a place where rain is rare
LOS ANGELES, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- The reflection of a pigeon is seen along with clearing skies in a flooded playground in Hollenbeck Park as rainy weather from the first big El Nino storm moved out of the area late Tuesday afternoon. ( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images )
Street vendors Nick Brooks, middle, and Jason Hughes, right, sell "El Nino" umbrellas to people touring the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The current El Nino system, a natural warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that interacts with the atmosphere and changes weather worldwide, has tied a system in 1997-1998 as the strongest on record. Another less-powerful El Nino storm was right behind and expected to hit land Thursday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Street vendors sell sweatshirts and umbrellas to tourists in the Hollywood Section of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The current El Nino system, a natural warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that interacts with the atmosphere and changes weather worldwide, has tied a system in 1997-1998 as the strongest on record. Another less-powerful El Nino storm was right behind and expected to hit land Thursday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Concrete barriers are set to protect homes from flash flooding in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Los Angeles County Flood Control District crew member David Martinez uses an excavator to keep a flood inlet clean in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A residence garage is sandbagged in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Concrete barriers are set against flood debris in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Flood Maintenance Division Construction Superintendent, Stan Brown, left, inspects a flow control inlet as crews clean debris at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains in Azusa, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A resident drives in the rain around concrete barriers protecting homes from flash flooding in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
VENTURA, CA - JANUARY 06: Homes at Mondo's Beach between the Solimar and Faria Beach communities west of Ventura have their sea walls tested Wednesday morning, January 06, 2016, as the second of the El Nino storms moves in with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - JAN. 5, 2016. Visitors to Angels Gate Park in San Pedro are framed between the sea and sun-tinged clouds as the first storm of El Nino blows ashore on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)
LOS ANGELES, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- Jason Chiang, 31, is reflected in a puddle while walking his dogs Clementine and Emma in Hollenbeck Park as rainy weather from the first big El Nino storm moved out of the area late Tuesday afternoon. ( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images )
LONG BEACH, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- A kite surfer makes use to the windy conditions during the rainy weather brought by the first big storm in what is predicted to be a strong El Nino event in Southern California January 5, 2016. ( Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 5: Homeless outreach workers talk to homeless people gathered outside the Venice Beach Public Library about seeking shelter indoors and out of the rain on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The first of several El Nino storms hit Southern California on Tuesday, with heavy downpours throughout the day in the L.A. Basin. Shelters have opened up across the city in an effort to bring homeless people indoors and out of the wet, cold weather forecast for the days ahead. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 5: A homeless man sleeps out of the rain by sheltering under the 405 Freeway in Venice on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The first of several El Nino storms hit Southern California on Tuesday, with heavy downpours throughout the day in the L.A. Basin. Shelters have opened up across the city in an effort to bring homeless people indoors and out of the wet, cold weather forecast for the days ahead. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- Traffic has been snarled across the area as the big storm hits in what is predicted to be a strong El Nino event in Southern California January 5, 2016. The 57 south through Orange County was flowing better than a lot of other areas. ( Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - JAN. 5, 2016. The first storm of the El Nino season blows ashore at Angels Gate Park in San Pedro on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it rains in Los Angeles, the hardest thing to find can often be an umbrella.

Those who own one can't remember where they put it, and stores quickly see their stocks cleared out.

So while this week's El Nino-triggered storms have brought welcome rain — too much of it in some places — they have created the usual angst among a population more used to greeting each day with sunglasses.

SEE EARLIER: Current El Niño ties 1997-1998 as strongest on record, says NOAA

"People in Los Angeles are always unprepared, even when they know it's going to rain," Morana Mendez said with a smile and a shake of her head as she looked at an empty bin in her convenience store that just hours before had been filled with umbrellas. A similar bin at a downtown store across the street was also empty.

"Even my co-worker, she came to work this morning without an umbrella," Mendez added.

After four years of drought, rain has become such an unusual event here that hours after the heavens opened the Los Angeles Times posted a story on its website headlined, "How to survive El Nino like an Angelino."

Among the common-sense tips from reporter Mariel Garza was this: "Turn on your headlights. C'mon. It's like night out there, people, I can't see your car through the downpour."

Another, which she didn't list, might have been don't park your car in a creek bed when it rains — even one with a concrete-lined bottom. The owner of a late-model Lexus did just that in the Los Angeles suburb of Orange on Tuesday.

"The problem is when the creek is dry people use it for a park-and-ride lot and leave their cars there," said Doug Westfall, who lives nearby and saw the vehicle buffeted by water after 3 inches of rain fell in four hours. Police eventually found a phone number for the owner and called to warn that if someone didn't move the car the water would.

Elsewhere, some people were doing what Angelinos do best when it rains: Staying inside.

"We've got a closet full of umbrellas, but I don't like to use them," said 19-year-old college student Monica Baerg, who decided to binge on Netflix instead. She was into Day Two on Wednesday.

Retiree Scott Paul, umbrella in hand, did brave the rain for a walk around his San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

"But I don't have any rain gear, so when it's coming down you still get wet," he said, adding he hasn't worn a water-proof raincoat or rain boots since he was child. Why? Because he lives in Los Angeles, of course, where it doesn't rain.

Along Hollywood Boulevard, where actors dressed like superheroes are ordinarily out in droves, anxious to pose for photos with tourists, not a caped crusader was in sight along the rain-drenched boulevard Wednesday.

"Batman and Superman? They left. They were freezing," top-hatted, red-jacketed Gregg Donovan, Hollywood's honorary greeter, said with a laugh as rain came down in sheets.

"There's nobody out here but me," he added. And even he had to modify his ensemble, leaving the shiny $600 Brioni shoes home in favor of galoshes.

"But they're black galoshes," he said somewhat sheepishly. "So they fit in."

See more from Los Angeles:

El Nino-Strengthened Storm Causes Flooding in LA

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