Vol. 2, Issue 36, October 26, 2004
Mysterious Substance Falls From Sky in Southern California
Sixty miles inland from Los Angeles, near the San Bernardino mountains and just an hour from the Mojave desert, Inland Empire residents are struggling to cope with a bizarre weather pattern that has resulted in the repeated deposit of an unusual substance on the ground over the past several days.
"It falls from the sky in these little drop-like things," said Tom Granger, a resident of San Bernardino. "It gets onto everything - I can't recall seeing anything like it."
The mysterious substance appears to be precipitating from the atmosphere, where, it is presumed, the substance has accumulated over time, possibly from Los Angeles related pollution. It has affected several counties in the Inland Empire, including Riverside and San Bernardino.
"The stuff gets all over you, and you would not believe the damage it has done to my clothes," said Sheila Rodriguez, of Redlands. "I have no idea how to get it off."
Residents of the normally arid southern California counties have been forced to don protective gear against the substance.
"We're encouraging residents to exercise extreme caution at this point, partly because we have no idea what exposure to this substance may have on health," said county officials. "We are in particular concerned about the elderly, who may not be able to dodge the falling drops as readily as younger citizens."
There are unconfirmed reports from laboratory analyses at the University of California indicating that the substance may contain considerable amounts of dihydrogen monoxide, a dangerous and nearly omnipresent chemical which has been proven harmful to humans when inhaled in sufficient quantities.
The falling substance also interacts with the asphalt used to pave California's highways, causing an unusual modification of the surface properties of the roads.
"The stuff was all over the roads, and I found my car became very difficult to steer," said Granger. "I tried driving even faster to see if the extra speed would increase my ability to maneuver, but instead it caused me to nearly lose control of the car. It's a good thing there were so many cars to bounce off of in the right hand lane or I would have gone off the road entirely."
Local meteorologists could not explain why the translucent droplets suddenly began falling from the sky, nor how long the phenomenon would last.
"Whatever it is, I hope it passes soon," said Rodriguez. "It's just plain creepy."