In 1860 a naturalist named William Brewer set out to conduct the first geologic survey of the infant state of California. When Brewer arrived in the tiny adobe village of Los Angeles on December 2, he noted in his diary that “all that is wanted naturally to make it a paradise is water, more water.” Three weeks later a raging torrent of water—the worst rainstorm in 11 years—destroyed many of the adobes. Such is weather in California.