How did California’s rainfall season measure up? Good, but not great

LOS ANGELES CA JANUARY 20, 2017 -- A pedestrian scurries across the street under her umbrella in do
A pedestrian crosses a downtown Los Angeles street on a rainy Friday in January.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Sunday is the end of the 2018-19 rainfall season in California, and you may have heard that the season’s precipitation totals were extraordinary. The figures show that the season was good — above normal — but not in the top 20% of wettest seasons.

California rainfall season summary

Percentage of normal precipitation, July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019:

(Los Angeles Times)

How does that measure up?

A look at this year’s precipitation compared with the seasonal norm for selected locations:


Rainfall amounts
(Los Angeles Times)

What’s next?

With the exception of a brief, early-June heat wave, Southern California has been relatively cool and moist with a thick marine layer through most of the month. The heat wave was more pronounced in Northern California, where the Bay Area experienced record heat, and those records will lift the state to warmer-than-average status for June 2019.

Warmer weather is expected to return in July, especially in the second half of the month, and authorities warn that, notwithstanding the above-average precipitation for the 2018-19 season, California faces an intense fire season. The winter rains promoted the growth of grass and weeds that will quickly become wildfire fuel as temperatures soar and fuel moisture drops.

Graphics and reporting by Paul Duginski


Sources:; Weather West; Bill Patzert, retired Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist

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