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Record rainfall soaks parts of Southern California — is a ‘March miracle’ emerging?

A Disneyland employee walks through the entrance to Disneyland during a rain shower in Anaheim on Thursday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A slow-moving storm brought record rainfall to parts of Southern California, reigniting hopes of a “March miracle” following a bone-dry start to the year.

The storm, part of a system that’s lingered over the area for much of the week, dumped at least an inch of rain across a wide swath of the Southland, according to the National Weather Service. More than 2 inches fell in some parts of Los Angeles County over a 24-hour period that ended early Friday morning — including Beverly Hills, Northridge, Woodland Hills and Van Nuys.

A record amount of rain fell Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport, 1.06 inches; Long Beach Airport, 1.23 inches; Hollywood Burbank Airport, 1.69 inches; Palmdale Regional Airport, 1.49 inches; and in Lancaster, 0.94 inch.

Those rainfall amounts weren’t just records for the date, they were “all like in the top 25 wettest March days since their record-keeping began,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

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And it’s not over yet. Sirard said the rain should continue through mid-Friday morning, so there “could be another quarter, half-inch of rain before it’s all said and done.”

“It’s very beneficial rain, and we’re glad to see it here, that’s for sure,” he said.

That’s especially true given how this year started. California was starved for moisture during a historically dry January and February — which are typically the state’s wettest months.

Some particularly parched parts of the state have backslid into moderate drought conditions.

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Downtown Los Angeles received a total of 0.04 inch of rain last month, placing it in a tie with February 1899 for the 10th-driest February on record. Downtown also had its fourth-driest combined January and February on record, with just 0.36 inch of rain.

From Thursday to Friday morning alone, downtown was doused with 1.41 inches of rain — almost quadruple the amount that fell during the first two months of the year.

The region still has a ways to go to make up for the January-February shortfall. However, Sirard said it’s not out of the question that March could significantly close that gap, especially as a persistent wet pattern is set to settle in for the foreseeable future.

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Another storm is set to roll in Sunday night — bringing a strong chance of showers through Wednesday, according to Sirard. Yet another appears to be queuing up after that.

“I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to make up for a lot of what we missed in January and February in terms of rainfall across the region,” he said. “We sometimes say this could be a ‘March miracle.’”


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