18 trillion gallons of rain in California in February — and more on the way

Orange County Public Works' Shannon Widor surveys damage where Trabuco Creek overflowed the Trabuco Canyon Road bridge last week.
Orange County Public Works’ Shannon Widor surveys damage where Trabuco Creek overflowed the Trabuco Canyon Road bridge last week.
(Mark Boster / For The Times)

California has already received an 18-trillion-gallon soaking this month — enough water to fill 27 million Olympic-sized pools — and the state’s wild winter isn’t over yet.

A series of storms, including a moisture-packed atmospheric river that slammed the state last week, has brought consistent rainfall in February that has reached nearly half the volume of Lake Tahoe.

Los Angeles has received its fair share of the rain, with more than 4 inches falling on the Southland since Feb. 1. San Diego has had more than 10 inches of rain this month, passing its average for the entire winter season, according to the National Weather Service.


The totals are likely to increase this week — though not by much — as another storm rolls into the region Wednesday night. That low pressure system is expected to bring less than a quarter of an inch of precipitation through Thursday, said Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

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“It’s kind of a drier system,” she said. “We’ve gotten a decent amount of rain already. I think it’s more the cold that people aren’t going to be happy about.”

Cold air that’s being pushed from Canada’s inland area isn’t moving over the warmer Pacific Ocean waters, which means temperatures will remain chilly through the week. By Friday, highs will increase slightly to the mid-50s and low 60s, Phillips said.

The cold snap has already dropped temperatures into the low 30s in Southern California and into the 20s in the Bay Area and along the Central Coast. Temperatures in Long Beach fell to 39 degrees overnight, tying a previous record set in the coastal city in 1965, Phillips said.

Some other local areas also might come close to record-breaking low temperatures in the coming days, she said.


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