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Dry, windy January brings rainy season to a halt

By Reginald Stanley. Posted January 31, 2022, 11:18 PM.

January 2022 marked a pattern shift from the wet pattern of frequent storms in December, to a very dry and frequently windy pattern that gripped the region for most of the month.

Despite the cold start to the month, blocking high pressure over the eastern Pacific Ocean prevented any meaningful storms from reaching Southern California. The only rain event that occurred in January 2022 was from a weak cutoff low on January 18, which resulted in generally insignificant totals. Santa Ana Winds occurred frequently throughout the rest of the month. Average temperatures for the month of January were warmer than normal, although far from warmest at most locations. In Temecula, where precipitation records date back to 2000, January 2022 was the second-driest month on record there (only January 2014 was drier). In East Hemet, where records date back to 2003, January 2022 tied (with an incomplete January 2003) for second-driest as well, behind January 2014. In Northwest Murrieta, January 2022 was the driest January on record there since records began at that location in 2003. No measurable precipitation fell in Northwest Murrieta during the month, eclipsing January 2014 as the driest such month there. In contrast, January 2014 was significantly warmer. WeatherCurrents' station in San Jacinto also failed to record any measurable rainfall for the month.

Season totals that had been near or above average at the beginning of January, have since dwindled to below average to-date due to the lack of rainfall. The dry pattern does not appear to be changing anytime soon, despite a weak trough forecast to bring a deep marine layer with possible drizzle on Wednesday. Santa Ana Winds are predicted to return yet again late in the week, with long-term forecasts suggesting a persistent offshore flow pattern lasting well into the month of February. February is, on average, the wettest month of the year in Southern California, however dry Februaries do and have occurred - as recently as just last year, in 2021.

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