Drought continues

Check this link for current conditions, but I warn you that it's probably the same as the above picture.

It seems like we ought to have had more rain at this point in the winter, but checking the long range forecast through the end of the month it looks like no rain is in sight.  My backyard rainfall from our one early storm in the second week of October is 1.45 inches so it looks like we're looking through the end of November with only that one rain on the books.  Perhaps surprisingly, even if we get no more rain for the remainder of this month, this winter's rainfall is still ahead of the 1" median cumulative historic (1944 to 2005) rainfall for nearby Los Angeles. Still, November has been unusually dry: 75% of the time we get more than 3/4" in November, so perhaps that's why it feels like a dry winter.

To the best of my knowledge, early season rainfall is not a predictor of late season rainfall, so the game is still on with Mother Nature.  Will we get an abundance of rain that gives us some breathing room to further reduce our water requirements or will we go into a fourth year of drought?  Only time will tell, but NOAA predicts that there will be a seasonal easing of drought conditions (through Feb 2010) by at least one stage of drought.  This doesn't appear to be a long range forecast for green pastures - only a safe bet that we will get some rainfall between now and then.  After that, it's probably back to the usual drought.


  1. So I've been worried about the same thing. But reading Ken Clark's blog here http://www.accuweather.com/mt-news-blogs.asp?partner=accuweather&blog=Clark&pgurl=/mtweb/content/Clark/archives/2009/11/room_for_concern_about_el_nino.asp made me feel hopeful. He explains that Novembers are often pretty dry in high-rainfall winters. Only time will tell.

  2. I took a look at the issue of early season vs. late season rainfall in 2007.

    I didn't segregate years based on el nino conditions and it appears that I didn't look beyond September as the end of "early". With those caveats I found low correlation.

  3. With a trace of rain since July and not much over 3 inches since January I'm starting to wonder if it's ever going to rain again down here in San Diego. Still, I planted a few things over the weekend, so I guess I'm at a little bit optimistic that the pattern will break before too long.

  4. Interesting to have the weather low-down. I'm encouraged by Brad B's comment, here in Nor Cal we have gotten only a couple of rains so far.

  5. El Nino is a better predictor of spring (Feb-May) rainfall. Our winter storms come from the northwest. Our spring storms come from the west & southwest--from the warm water.

    If the El Nino strengthens, and the jet stream turns southerly, then the drought will be over. But parts of LA will be buried in mud.