San Diego Remains In Drought's Grip

Monday, February 9, 2015
By Susan Murphy

An atmospheric river of rain drenched Northern California over the weekend, but San Diego remains in the grips of a historic drought — receiving less than half of an inch of precipitation since Jan. 1.

The culprit: A massive ridge of high pressure, similar to one last year, is anchored over Southern California and pushing any potential storms away.

National Weather Service forecasters also say San Diego is in for a warm-up this week as moderate Santa Ana winds and low humidities are expected to blow in.

"The strongest winds will occur Thursday, and the warmest conditions are going to occur on Friday, with temperatures rising 10 to 15 degrees above normal," said Stephen Harrison, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The next chance for rain is at least 10 days out, Harrison said.

Thanks to a soggy December, San Diego's precipitation deficit for the weather year, which started on Oct. 1, remains .38 of an inch below normal. When only tracking January and February, which are normally the wettest months of the year, the region has fallen behind more than 2 inches, signaling a fourth year of drought.

Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said fire danger in the county remains high.

"We’re still in this multi-year drought, we have not received significant rainfall at all, and we still have a lot of dead fuels throughout San Diego County," Bortisser said. "The dead fuels aren’t going to come back, no matter how much rain you get."

There may be a glimmer of hope for the parched county as long-range forecasts show a possibility for above-average rainfall in March and April, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.