Record-breaking dry water year for San Diego

Today marks the beginning of the 2014-2015 water year for San Diego county, which is the rain season that is used by hydrologists. The 2013-2014 water year is going down in the record books as a dry one. San Diego received 5.06 inches total rainfall which is 49% of normal, making it the 13th driest water year for the city. San Diego wasn’t the only city breaking records this year, in fact Escondido saw its driest water year ever!
 
An active monsoon season last summer helped our mountains and deserts get a jump-start on seasonal rainfall, but a dry winter put us behind normal for our water year. Below is a chart breaking down the dry year among other cities in the county.
 

City

2013-2014 Total

Percent of Normal

Rank of Driest Season

Escondido

5.75”

38%

1st

Campo

6.95”

44%

2nd

El Cajon

4.54”

37%

4th

Ramona

7.85”

49%

4th

San Diego

5.06”

49%

13th

Palomar Mtn.

18.70”

62%

15th

 
Due to two consecutive below average rainfall seasons resulting in the reduction in reservoir and groundwater levels, the entire state of California remains in drought. In the California Drought Map (above) the drought conditions range from Severe (orange) to Exceptional (dark red).
 
This is the first time in 15 years that the entire state has been in a drought of this extent. A drought is declared by the Governor through recommendations of the California State Department of Water Resources and the State Climatologist. San Diego County Water Authority has declared a Drought Watch, but they do not anticipate shortages in 2014 due to the availability of imported water.
 
The drought conditions and warm weather this spring and early summer has increased the wildfire potential this season. The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor calls for drought conditions to persist or intensify through the summer.
 
Now for the good news, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center there is an 80 percent chance of El Nino developing in the fall or winter this year. There is not much correlation between El Nino in summer and fall weather patterns as the impacts tend to show up most clearly during the winter months.
 
An El Nino winter means drought relief for California as this pattern centers the Pacific jet stream over California and thus brings in an active weather pattern.
 
For more on our drought conditions and weather outlook:
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