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Storms dampen wildfire danger in San Diego county — for now

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Rain falls early in the morning on Oct. 8, 2021, in Carlsbad.

You won’t have to water your lawn or outdoor plants for a while, thanks to the two storms that moved through our area this week. In fact, the rain that moved across the county last night and into this morning was just what the meteorological doctor ordered.

“It’s going to be a nice, steady, widespread rain... It’s great for fire weather because it doesn’t end our fire weather season, but it puts a delay, it really dampens it and it causes fire weather conditions to almost go away for a couple of weeks," said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy.

RELATED: San Diego Readies For Long Fire Season


The National Weather Service measures the amount of precipitation we get in a year in what they aptly call a "water year." The one we're in now, 2021-22, just got underway at the beginning of October, and so far with the storm from last night and the one from earlier this week, we’re off to a pretty good start.

The amount of rain that fell last night and into this morning very much depends on where you are in the county, from more than 2/3 of an inch in Oceanside to just an eighteenth of an inch at San Diego International Airport.

Add that to the nearly 2/3 of an inch we got at the airport from Monday’s storm, and we begin the rainy season - the water year - with nearly an inch of precipitation.

But does our nice wet start portend good things for the winter? Not necessarily.

This week's storms dampened the danger of wildfires in San Diego county - for now

“We are entering a La Nina, which is the cold phase in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Those tend to be dryer than average in most of California,” Tardy said.

In an average year, we used to be able to expect more than 10 inches of rain. But Tardy says the National Weather Service just revised the 30-year rolling average from 10.33 inches down to 9.8, emblematic of our changing climate that’s getting drier and hotter.

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