Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Election 2020: Live Results | Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

San Diego Winter Is Wetter Than Most

Rain from a winter storm on a car windshield in San Diego, Jan. 14, 2019.

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: Rain from a winter storm on a car windshield in San Diego, Jan. 14, 2019.

Southern California’s rainy season comes to a close in about two weeks, and the winter is already among some of the region’s wettest.

This past winter was the second in three years to produce above average rainfall in San Diego. The KPBS Water Gauge tracks rainfall and snowpack in California and both totals are running well above average.

National Weather service forecaster Alex Tardy said this past winter was a winter of stormy weather.

“We saw rain that started in December and then it wouldn’t let up. It went right through New Year’s Eve. Picked up hard in the middle of January. And then it was really the grand finale in February and early March when we had big rain events that was a little too much,” Tardy said.

The KPBS Weather Gauge shows rain totals at San Diego’s airport are 15% above normal. KPBS averages snowpack totals at four separate locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the current snowpack is 70% above average.


DATA SOURCES: Rainfall data comes from a weighted average of 96 weather stations throughout the state. Snowpack data represents the average of three different multi-station measures of the northern, central and southern Sierra snowpack. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers, through the California Nevada Applications Program RISA and the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, helped compile the data.

San Diego has not been the only beneficiary of a wet winter because the entire southwest region got more rain and snow than expected.

“Just show me where it was unusually wet. Not the total amount of rain, or snow, but where was it unusually wet. And that really signals the Southwest area. The area that’s really been suffering from this multi-year drought. Basically the four corners area of Colorado all the way through California,” Tardy said.

Two of the last three years have been very wet in San Diego, according to Tardy, but those wet years served as bookends to last winter, which was one of the driest on record in Southern California.

San Diego got about half of its expected rainfall.

This winter’s rain has helped pull the region out of drought but he says that seven of the last ten years have been drier than normal.

San Diego's wet winter is winding down but there may still be rain coming.

You can hear this story and other local news every morning by subscribing to San Diego News Matters, KPBS’ daily news podcast. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.