San Diego

2016: Wet Year for San Diego County While Still Recovering From Drought

While we didn't hit it out of the park with rainfall, last year was still a homer in anyone's book.

It was a very wet year in San Diego County, for a region that's still recovering from a long, nasty drought.

As of December 31, the region was well above normal for rainfall totals on a couple of charts but still a near miss on others. 

In order to explain how San Diego did this year in terms of rainfall, it's important to understand that the weather business measures rainfall in several different ways including day, month, season and year. The season counts rainfall from October to September, whereas the year follows the regular calendar months of January through December.

The 'season' starts on Oct. 1 because that's when the rainy season officially begins in California. Checking daily rain measures isn't very helpful to understand how we did 'last year or season' so we'll disregard that for now. 

The year 2016 was almost but not quite wetter than previous years. At Lindbergh Field, our County's official reporting station, we ended the year with 10.23 inches of precipitation. That's just a tenth of an inch below normal, the near miss mentioned earlier. But hey, while we didn't hit it out of the park, last year was still a homer in anyone's book.

A more optimistic outlook can be found through two measuring systems: month and season. The last two weeks of December were very wet causing the month to finish with a total of 4.22 inches, which is well above the 1.55 inches we normally see.

That's a big surplus, just under 2.7 inches, and gives us a season total of 4.9 inches. Again, that's above average for the October-December period by a whopping 1.79 inches of rainfall.

This is a great trend and may continue, as the forecast for January is expecting average rainfall once again. Only time will tell if the forecast bears fruit but for now, if your wishes for the New Year included "rain," well, so far - so good.

We’re not seeing a ton of rain on Monday but at least it’s something, a few hundredths of an inch. And, looking ahead, we have another chance for rain on Thursday and again this weekend.

So smile -- your flowers and trees are happy. And please, turn off the automatic sprinklers - you don’t want to be the one on the block caught watering the grass while it’s raining outside.

Contact Us