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2015-2016 Rain Season Review and Totals

By Reginald Stanley. Posted July 14, 2016, 3:46 PM.

A strong El Nino delivered little rainfall to the region during the disappointing 2015-16 water year, contrary to predictions made in late 2015. The 2015-16 water finished as the fifth consecutive below-average rainy season in Southern California. Season totals were similar to last seasons'.

El Nino began forming in the equatorial Pacific as early as Spring of 2015, and exceeding strong status by December. The El Nino's strength peaked in January. The regional effects typically associated with a strong El Nino failed to materialize this winter - the first observed instance since at least 1950. Southern California received abundant rainfall during past strong El Nino episodes - namely in 1972-73, 1982-83, and 1997-98, according to records from Downtown Los Angeles and San Diego. As such, conditions in the equatorial Pacific do not guarantee specific weather patterns all the time.

The majority of WeatherCurrents stations ended the season three to four inches below averages. Many stations do not yet have enough years of data to have reliable seasonal averages, however. Most stations received between 8 and 12 inches for the season. Beaumont was an exception, being a typically wetter location than the rest of the WeatherCurrents stations, and received 18.43 inches. Wildomar finished in last place, with 6.59 inches. Jurupa Valley, Menifee, and Riverside's Canyon Crest stations were incomplete for the season.

Monsoon weather in July and September gave an early boost to season totals for many communities. The region experienced mostly weak storms from October through December, providing little rainfall with each storm. The high point of the season was in early January, when the season's only strong storms hit the region, giving a decent boost to season totals over the course of four days. This was followed by extended winter dry periods, leading to a rather dry February. A couple of abnormal storms selectively hit the region in April and early May, providing widely variable storm totals. The final storm of the season occurred back on May 6th.

June 2016 was dry as expected, however it was one of the warmest on record. In Temecula, June ended with an average monthly temperature of 73.0 degrees - eclipsing last year's record of 72.6, and a full ten degrees warmer than May (62.6).

Now that El Nino is subsiding in the Pacific, the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA's website has issued a La Nina Watch.

The rain season in Southern California runs from July 1st through June 30th.

Here are the season totals for the WeatherCurrents network and associates:

Location 2015-2016 Season Average Source
Beaumont (Cherry Valley) 18.43"  N/A WeatherCurrents
East Highland 12.93"  N/A Peter Michas
San Bernardino 12.92"  10.67"  WeatherCurrents
De Luz 12.19"  14.09"  WeatherCurrents
Moreno Valley 11.19"  9.39"  WeatherCurrents
Temecula Valley Wine Country 11.12"  N/A Jim Sappington
East San Jacinto 11.03"  10.90"  Monty Parrott
East Hemet 10.91"  11.45"  WeatherCurrents
South Fallbrook 10.90"  14.05"  WeatherCurrents
Simi Valley 10.57"  8.55"  WeatherCurrents
Lake Elsinore 10.10"  10.27"  WeatherCurrents
Riverside (Presidential Park) 10.04"  N/A WeatherCurrents
Pinon Hills 9.84"  N/A WeatherCurrents
Northwest Murrieta 9.70"  13.23"  WeatherCurrents
San Jacinto 9.69"  N/A WeatherCurrents
Anza 9.36"  N/A WeatherCurrents
French Valley 9.27"  N/A WeatherCurrents
South Temecula 8.89"  12.28"  WeatherCurrents
Perris 8.52"  8.09"  WeatherCurrents
Central Murrieta 8.12"  N/A Reginald Stanley
San Diego (City Heights) 7.67"  N/A WeatherCurrents
Wildomar 6.59"  N/A WeatherCurrents

Note: Season Averages were only given for stations with at least five complete years of data. Even these averages may be skewed from many dry years or unusually wet ones, and should not be interpreted as the actual average rainfall for those communities.

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