Past 12 months 13th driest ever in San Diego

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dry1This past Tuesday, July 1, is the annual beginning of the year for the purposes of measuring rainfall and other weather phenomena. The National Weather Service has announced that for previous 12 months only 5.06 inches of rain fell at the Lindbergh Field airport. This is right up there with the very driest years ever recorded here.

In the nearly 150 years that the amount of yearly rainfall has been recorded, there have been only 12 years with less rain than 2013-2014. The average in all those years in 10.34 inches a year, and last year saw slightly less than half that total. In the city of Escondido, for which separate records are kept, last year’s 5.75 inches is the driest ever. There have now been three year in a row of well-below average rainfall in the San Diego County area.dry2

There has not been a rainfall of any great extent in more than three and a half years, since 5 inches dropped onto San Diego in a quick succession of rainstorms over the course of two days. Since then, numerous records for dryness, lack of humidity, and heat have been compiled. The winter of 2013-2014 has had the highest average temperatures since such numbers have been monitored, since the 1880’s. Additionally, the sum of lowest and highest temperatures for the past 8 months was 3.6 degrees higher than the average.

During this warm spell, the attendant humidity has been extremely minimal, as low as 3%. Another record-breaking occurrence during the past weather year was the very strong Santa Ana winds that accompanied the high temperatures and low humidity beginning in the middle of May 2014. Readings of 104 degrees were reaching in the San Diego suburbs of El Cajon and Escondido.

dry3These conditions combined in a deadly way in May, leading to very dry brush in canyons that resulted in ten simultaneous wildfires. The outlook for relief lies in the coming El Nino weather predicted for the next rainy season. If the condition produces the expected rainfall, we can hope for a least a return to normal levels in the next weather year.


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