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2016-2017 Rain Season Review and Totals

By Reginald Stanley. Posted July 5, 2017, 5:00 PM.

A weak La Nina pattern in the equatorial Pacific took place during the 2016-17 water year, with most locations in Southern California receiving more rain than during the 2015-16 season. The result was the first above-average rainy season across the region since 2010-11, ending a five-year dry streak.

The wettest period of the season was December through February. Multiple barrages of winter storms bombarded the region each of the three months, leading to accumulated totals of between 10 and 20 inches during those three months alone. De Luz recorded the highest season total with 27.07 inches, the most recorded there since 32 inches in 2010-11. Most WeatherCurrents stations recorded season totals between 13 inches and 21 inches, with each location being between 2 and 12 inches above average. Season totals for Pinon Hills, Riverside (Orangecrest) and San Diego (City Heights) are incomplete.

While the 2016-17 season ended above-average across the region, rainfall was not as substantially above average as in the 2010-11 and 2004-05 seasons. Season totals would likely have ended much higher if the rain did not suddenly stop completely beginning in March. Save for a late-season May storm, the rainy season abruptly shut off incoming storms following February due to dominating high pressure over the region. Despite this, the 2016-17 season greatly benefited the region and its water supplies.

La Nina's in the Pacific are typically associated with below-average rainfall in California. At least, until recently. Since 2010, the only above-average rainy seasons in the region occurred during La Nina events. The strong El Nino in 2015-16 failed to live up to expectations and ended with a dry rainy season. While the weak La Nina this past winter peaked in December, ONI values in the equatorial Pacific have reverted back into positive territory, as reported by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association. Their outlook for 2017-18 remains neutral. More information will be released in the coming months.

The water year in Southern California runs from July 1st through June 30th.

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

Location 2016-2017 Season Average Source
De Luz 27.07"  15.17"  WeatherCurrents
South Fallbrook 22.39"  14.69"  WeatherCurrents
Temecula Valley Wine Country 20.67"  N/A Jim Sappington
San Bernardino 20.23"  N/A WeatherCurrents
Lake Elsinore 19.95"  11.08"  WeatherCurrents
Beaumont (Cherry Valley) 19.77"  15.04"  WeatherCurrents
Simi Valley 19.56"  10.38"  WeatherCurrents
East Highland 19.38"  N/A Peter Michas
East San Jacinto 19.11"  N/A Monty Parrott
East Hemet 18.25"  11.94"  WeatherCurrents
Northwest Murrieta 17.97"  13.60"  WeatherCurrents
South Temecula 17.40"  12.60"  WeatherCurrents
Wildomar 17.16"  10.05"  WeatherCurrents
Anza 16.81"  N/A WeatherCurrents
French Valley 16.14"  9.56"  WeatherCurrents
Central Murrieta 15.18"  N/A Reginald Stanley
Moreno Valley 14.61"  9.97"  WeatherCurrents
Riverside (Presidential Park) 14.11"  8.46"  WeatherCurrents
Perris 13.91"  8.74"  WeatherCurrents
San Diego (City Heights) 13.77" 1 N/A WeatherCurrents
San Jacinto 12.78"  10.06"  WeatherCurrents
  1. City Heights totals are currently inaccurate due to rain gauge clogs in December.

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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The San Diego (City Height), California weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. City Heights is a San Diego community, located east of Balboa Park, near Interstate 15
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