Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 10:05 PM GMT on January 03, 2014
Driest Year on Record for California, Oregon, Wettest in Asheville, Macon
As expected for the past month or so, most of California and much of Oregon have closed out 2013 as the driest calendar year on record. Conversely, a few locations in the Southeast have experienced their wettest year. Here is a brief summary with the details (probably more than you want to know).
The statistics speak for themselves. Not only has it been the driest calendar year on record for the state as a whole, but also some locations have surpassed their previous dry records by astonishing margins. Here are some of the record reports issued by various NWS sites from around the state:
Above list issued by NWS-Monterey which serves the San Francisco Bay Area.
Above list issued by NWS-San Joaquin which serves the southern half of the interior valley of California. One of the nation’s premier vegetable and fruit growing regions.
Above list issued by NWS-Los Angeles which serves the greater Los Angles region.
In addition to the above Sacramento (with 6.12”), Eureka (with 16.53”) and Redding (with 12.82”) also experienced their driest calendar years on record but I don’t have the former driest year statistics yet.
The latest Sierra snow measurements taken on January 3rd indicate that the Sierra snowpack water content is currently just 12% of normal for this time of the year, the 3rd lowest level since such measurements began in 1920. The only drier years at this point of the ‘wet’ season were 1977 and 1960.
Much of the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon experienced their driest year on record as well:
Statement issued by NWS-Portland.
Medford and Roseburg, in the southern portion of Oregon, also experienced their driest year with 8.99” in Medford (old record 10.42” in 1959) and 16.08” in Roseburg (old record 21.71” in 1976).
This map illustrates the area of precipitation deficits in the western U.S. for 2013.
The latest drought monitor map for the U.S. issued on December 31st.
Record Wet Year in portions of the Southeast and Upper Midwest
Asheville, North Carolina clobbered its previous wet year record with 75.22” of precipitation in 2013, the former record being 64.91” in 1973. Precipitation records in Asheville go back to 1869, so this was quite an achievement. Macon, Georgia also had its wettest year on record with a 72.67” total (former record 67.80” in 1929 with a POR back to 1899).
Portions of the Upper Midwest were also very wet. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan had a record 48.78” in 2013, surpassing its previous record of 45.84” in 1995 (POR since 1887).
I’ll follow up on other precipitation records for the U.S. in my monthly global extreme weather summary due to post in mid-January.
Christopher C. Burt
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