It’s official: 2014 was warmest year on record in California

West Los Angeles College cross-country runner Tawuan Cargill dumps water over his head after running amid high temperatures in Los Angeles in September. 2014 was the hottest year on record in California.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The data are back and what climate experts predicted was indeed true – 2014 was the hottest year on record in California.

According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature in California in 2014 was 61.5 degrees, or 4.1 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.

The next warmest year in California was in 1934 when the average temperature was 59.7 degrees. Records go back to 1895. Alaska, Arizona and Nevada also had their warmest years on record.


The year was also historically bad drought-wise for Californians. The entire state is in some level of drought, according to federal data, and a spell of rainstorms over the winter did little to lessen the long-term effects of years of parched weather, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

That said, the Department of Agriculture said the condition of the state’s winter wheat crop was raised to excellent from good due to the rainfall.

The proportion of California currently experiencing “exceptional” drought -- the most severe category -- dropped from 58% in September to 39% in January.

Dwindling water supplies prompted California to move forward with conservation efforts statewide following two voluntary emergency declarations made early last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack also didn’t improve much in 2014. While measurements showed a deeper snowpack, officials with the California Department of Water Resources said it was nowhere near the amount needed to end the prolonged drought.

Experts say the generally dry conditions could continue in 2015.

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