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Wet rainy season, season totals already exceed entire seasonal averages

By Reginald Stanley. Posted March 2, 2017, 12:18 AM.

The surge of wet weather from December through February thus far has pushed many communities' season totals past their entire seasonal averages as March begins.

For the first time in many years, 2016-17 looks to be an above-average rainy season across the region. Extended stretches of very wet weather over the last three months have been due to an unusually high number of atmospheric river events in the eastern Pacific, a phenomena typically associated with El Nino events. During 2016-17, however, a La Nina event - El Nino's opposite - occurred. In the past, El Ninos have been associated with wet winters in Southern California while La Ninas were associated with drier ones. The last several winters have defied this theory, however, as 2015-16 was a below-average rainy season despite the presence of a strong El Nino. Visit the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center website for more information about El Nino and La Nina events.

Communities such as De Luz, Fallbrook, Simi Valley, Temecula, and many others have already exceeded their entire seasonal averages, despite the high potential for more wet weather in the weeks ahead. De Luz's exceptional season total of 25.34 inches far exceeds its seasonal average of 14.09 inches, and it's likely that former number will only get higher before the season ends in June. Simi Valley's current season total of 18.96 inches exceeds its season average of 8.55 inches by an entire 10.41 inches as of March 1. Other communities that have exceeded their entire season averages include San Bernardino, Moreno Valley, Perris, Hemet, Fallbrook, Temecula, Murrieta, and Wildomar. Only stations with at least five complete seasons of precipitation data are counted - and even then, seasonal averages may be skewed slightly too low in many communities due to extended years of drought.

The last above-average rainy season was in 2010-11 - also a La Nina winter. January 2017 was also the wettest January since 2010 in many communities. The wet winter of 2016-17 puts an end to the string of dry years from 2012 through 2016.

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