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Dry Conditions Return To Thirsty San Diego

Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor map issued on Dec. 3, 2013 shows much of San Diego under severe drought conditions.

Aired 12/10/13 on KPBS News.

Thirsty San Diego got a little bit of rain last weekend, but mild and dry conditions are setting in once again.

Thirsty San Diego got a little bit of rain last weekend, but mild and dry conditions are setting in once again.

While most of San Diego’s wet season still lies ahead in January and February, forecasters are warning this is the third year of rainfall deficits, and the state is so far below normal it will be hard to catch up.

“Because it’s one thing if you're just 20 percent below normal, but when you start getting into, you know, 50- and 60 percent below normal over a large area where they should be getting a lot of precipitation, it really starts to take its toll," said Alex Tardy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Tardy said the storm track basically stopped in January.

"That’s really why the deficits are so large, and why the drought is officially expanding, and why water supply is so low," he said.

Tardy said San Diego is faring better than the rest of the state because the latest storm systems have split, with half of the storm energy pushing north of California.

“And then the other portion of energy completely missing a lot of California and then coming across San Diego," Tardy said.

"We’re still short precipitation. We still have a deficit down here, but it’s not nearly as bad,” Tardy added.

San Diego has received almost 2 inches of rain over the last two months, but just 5.2 inches total since January 1.

Tardy said without El Nino or La Nina in play in the Pacific, long-term forecasting is difficult.

"If you average in all years that were similar, there is a tendency to come out dry," Tardy said.

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