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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.

KPBS WATER GAUGE

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.

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