I hear a lot of people saying that this winter is the driest on record, but that doesn't seem true to me - at least not yet. Still, the local NBC station is stating, "Never has Los Angeles gotten less rain than during the calendar year that will end New Year's Eve. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013."
I think it's only the driest that people can remember. Since people's memories seem to only go back a few years, this isn't surprising.
At this point in the season I've measured 1.36" in my back yard and the NBC affiliate is claiming 3.6" at USC. That's a low water year for certain. However to the degree that I can directly compare either amount to data archived at NOAA, it's not the worst on record. As recently as Jan 31 of 2007, the dataset that I downloaded from NOAA indicated 1.27" and on the same date in 1999 it indicated 1.19". Jan 31, 1974 LA reported 0.34" cumulative rainfall and in 1962 reported 0.72"! How's that for dry?
What can be going on with those numbers? Why don't they agree better? I think the answer is that weather is doing what it does best: varying (by location). In this case it looks like the reporting locations of USC and the dataset I have from NOAA are not the same. However, I think we can all agree that it is dry.
Water your native plants well now!