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How Will Rainstorm Affect California Precipitation Totals?

By: Christopher C. Burt, 8:10 PM GMT on February 26, 2014

How Will Rainstorm Affect California Precipitation Totals?

A couple of wet storms are now approaching the California coast and are expected to provide the first heavy rainfall of the season to southern portions of the state. Here is an update of where precipitation totals so far this water season (July 1-June 30) stand.

Below are two charts showing the seasonal (July 1-to date) precipitation for 11 major cities in California arranged from north (Eureka) to south (San Diego). The first table is where the situation stood as of January 15th and the second table as of yesterday, February 26th. As one can see the big rainstorm of February 7-9 improved the situation for the northern two-thirds of California but did not affect the southern third of the state where the drought conditions have markedly worsened since January. In fact, the Downtown Los Angeles site (which is the site used in the tables) has not seen a calendar day rainfall of 1” or greater since October 5, 2011. Almost two and a half years ago. So we can see how important this coming storm will be for the southern portion of California.

I’ll post an update of these figures next Monday after the storm(s) have cleared the area.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

Extreme Weather Mini Blog Precipitation Records

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

all eyes on cali

much needed rains
earth model has added new layers update your links

Wind |

wind speed at specified height

Temp |

temperature at specified height

TPW (Total Precipitable Water) |

total amount of water in a column of air
stretching from ground to space


RH relative humidity
AD air density
WPD wind power density

TCW (Total Cloud Water)
total amount of water in clouds
in a column of air from ground to space

MSLP (Mean Sea Level Pressure) |

air pressure reduced to sea level

here is a link to earth model for the 4 pm forecast sfc temps


Date | 2014-02-26 16:00 Local ⇄ UTC

Data | Wind + Temp @ Surface

Scale |

Source | GFS / NCEP / US National Weather Service


Geologist Guleed Ali of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is exploring the history of climate at Mono Lake in eastern California, looking back tens of thousands of years into the last ice age. The lake's watershed serves as a water supply for far-away Los Angeles; in the midst of a broader drought in the Southwest, it's vital to understand how future climate change will affect the lake. Ali studies sediments in ancient river banks and algal deposits on limestone towers formed in the highly salty and alkaline waters of the lake. By dating the rise and fall of the lake over time, he and colleagues at Lamont hope to correlate those fluctuations to changes in the region's climate.
Thanks for a blog on this creeping disaster. I was going to point out that areas like LA can catch up on their rain but still suffer huge water shortage since their sources are 300 miles north, but Barbamz wisely put in the video of Mono Lake, which illustrates that connection nicely.
I pray the update next week is a wonderful surprise and know I am not alone.
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