Driest Year Ever In San Diego
Matt Baylow

Every 12 months, San Diego typically gets a little less than 11 inches (10.77") of rain. This year, there's been far less than that--only 28% of normal rainfall amounts have fallen. That would make this past rainy season the driest rainy season ever in San Diego.
San Diego's Driest Rainy Seasons On Record
12-month period 7-1 to 6-30
Total Rainfall
2001-2002  3.02"
1960-1961  3.55"
1876-1877  3.75"
1962-1963   3.99"
1999-2000  4.24"
1933-1934   4.26"
Normal    10.77"
The rainy season in San Diego begins each year right in the middle of the driest period--July 1st--and ends the following June 30th. The reason why? We get most of our rainfall (80%) in the five months from November to March. This way, if there's a wet winter or a dry winter, it doesn't get broken up into two different years on record.
Here in San Diego, we've been keeping weather records since 1850. And looking back at the past 150 years worth of rainy seasons, the driest rainfall totals for San Diego are listed above. You may remember we had both the second longest dry spell (157 consecutive days without rain) this past season as well as the driest-ever six month stretch (from May 1st to November last year, just .01" fell).
Of course, it just gets drier the more you look at it: this is the fourth year in a row with below normal rainfall, and there's never been a drier four-year period in San Diego's weather history. Right now, monsoonal moisture is our only hope for rain through the summer.
Month Closing On A Familiar Note...Or Two
In the past 24 months, not only has San Diego been drier than normal (22 of the past 24 months) but it's been colder than normal in 23 of the past 24 months.
June is closing on both of these familiar notes to San Diego residents. Once again, the average monthly temperature will be cooler than normal (between 2 and 2.5 degrees cooler than normal depending on the weekend's highs). . .and of course it'll be dry.
Drought To Continue Through September
Check out the latest 90-day drought outlook from the National Weather Service. It was issued this week and is in effect through September. For San Diego county residents, there's no real surprise here--the drought is only expected to worsen. The reason that's no surprise is because we're at the beginning of what is typically a very VERY dry season for the next four months. That, on top of what will end up being the driest year ever in San Diego's recorded weather history (I'm talking since 1850 here), and you've got a difficult fire season ahead.
That our fire season will be a difficult one is no surprise, either. Firefighters I've talked to the past couple of months all seem resigned to the fact that four years of drier-than-normal conditions and the latest dry spell over the last 16 months all seem to indicate a rough road ahead. That isn't to say we can't be more careful--no cigarettes out the car window (that's what started the Alpine fire in 2001)--no illegal burning or campfires--being careful when clearing away brush with a chainsaw or backhoe--all steps should be taken to make it to our next rainy season. Remember, an El Nino event is likely to occur--so welcoming rains are on the way. They might just be five months down the road.
Local 8 Meteorologist
Drought inducement:


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