Beginning Wednesday evening and continuing into Sunday, two Pacific storm systems ended a nearly 14 month period of record-setting dry weather in Los Angeles and much of Southern California. Los Angeles experienced the driest calendar year on record in 2013, and until Friday had received less water year rainfall (since July 1) than in 2006-07, the driest water year since recordkeeping began in 1877.
According to preliminary precipitation data, Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 4.52 inches of rain over the course of the storms, increasing its water year total from a desiccated 11% of normal to a not-too-bad-considering 50% of normal. Downtown Los Angeles’ water year rain total now stands at 5.72 inches. This exceeds last year’s cumulative precipitation total on this date by more than an inch, but still leaves us with deficit of nearly six inches.
Friday’s rainfall total of 2.24 inches was the most recorded in 24 hours at Downtown Los Angeles since March 20, 2011, and Thursday’s and Friday’s total of 3.29 inches was the most rain recorded in 48 hours at Downtown Los Angeles since December 19 & 20, 2010. The storms increased February’s rainfall total to near normal, and jump-started March with nearly half its normal amount of rain.
Foothill and mountain areas that faced into the storms’ moist southerly flow recorded some impressive rainfall totals. According to this compilation of preliminary rainfall totals from the NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard, Opids Camp near Mt. Wilson recorded nearly 11 inches of rain, and several stations in the Ventura Mountains recorded double-digit rainfall totals.
Update March 4. With this recent rainfall 2013-14 will not be the driest water year in Los Angeles on record; but one good storm, or even two, “does not a rain season make.” In the short term these storms have dramatically reduced the fire danger, provided crucial relief to plants and animals, and increased groundwater and reservoir storage. What happens in the longer term we’ll just have to see. Over the next several days a series of systems are forecast to produce additional rain from Central California north into the PNW. While no rain is forecast in Southern California over the next week or so, and the 8-14 day outlook is for below average rainfall, some model runs have indicated the possibility of additional rain around mid-month. As long as the Pacific weather pattern remains progressive there should be additional opportunities for rain in the weeks ahead.
A related post with more technical detail and graphics is available on my weather and climate web site Southern California Weather Notes.
The title photo is from yesterday’s showery run to Parker Mesa in Topanga State Park.
When I turned the corner at the Trippet Ranch parking lot and started up the hill toward the Musch Trail, I did a double take. The road was wet and it looked like it had been raining!
While it wasn’t impossible that a rogue shower had been spawned from the deep layer of moisture flowing over the area, it was far more likely the road was just wet from on-again, off-again drizzle.
On the way over from the end of Reseda one thing is for sure — there had been no rain. The dirt roads and trails had been in great shape. It would have been an exaggeration to describe them as damp. Although cool and cloudy, the weather was excellent for running and I’d removed my sleeves miles ago.
The Trippet Ranch Loop is a favorite. I’d taken the fire roads out from the end of Reseda, now on the way back it would be almost entirely single track trail.
Some related posts: Trippet Ranch Oaks, Trippet Ranch Mule Deer, The Heavenly Ranch in the Hills, Ferns Along the Garapito Trail, Garapito Trail Runs
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) is a herb in the mint family that is sometimes used to make bittersweet candy, tea and throat lozenges.
From Sunday’s run on the Garapito Trail.
From this morning’s run of the Garapito loop from Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park at the southern end of Reseda Blvd.
Some related posts: Ferns Along the Garapito Trail, Garapito Trail Runs
Well, actually you could see some snow on Mt. Baldy and the higher peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains, but that snow was 50 miles away. So far there had been a little frost in the shadows and mud in the low spots of the fire roads of Topanga State Park, but not a patch of snow in sight.
Lynn & Frank were heading back to the land of rain and snow for Christmas and there WAS snow on their local trails. More snow and bone-chilling temps were in the forecast, and a long snow-free run in the Santa Monica Mountains was a great way to celebrate the holidays!
We had taken a detour from the Backbone Trail to the top of Eagle Rock. After enjoying the view we would extend the detour down the Musch Trail and pick up the Backbone Trail at Trippet Ranch. From Trippet we would follow the Backbone Trail down into Topanga Canyon, up Hondo Canyon, over to Saddle Peak and then down to Malibu Canyon.
With a couple of short side trips the distance from the End of Reseda (Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park) worked out to about 21 miles. The distance and elevation gain were about the same as last Saturday’s run — also on the Backbone Trail.
Related post: July Fourth Trail Run to Trippet Ranch, Hondo Canyon and Saddle Peak
Although we didn’t have the deluge they experienced in Central and Northern California, Southern California did get some rain. From Tuesday night (11/27) to Monday morning (12/3) Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 1.03 inches, bringing the water year total to 1.36 inches. As of today that’s 1.08 inch below normal.
Some foothill and mountain stations were able to wring out much more rain from the moist tropical flow. Opids Camp recorded 3.02 inches, White Ledge Peak 4.09 inches, Refugio Pass 4.61 inches, and Rocky Butte 8.51 inches. For some storm totals from up north and more info about the “atmospheric rivers” that relayed the moisture up from the tropics, see my December 8 post on Southern California Weather Notes.
The photo above was taken between “storms” early Sunday morning, December 2, on a run in Topanga State Park. It started to rain shortly after I finished the run.
It looks like we might get a little more rain this next week, with a chance of rain on Wednesday and then maybe again on the weekend. We’ll see!