County’s Wet, Weird May Was Wonderful Out On The Farm

It was wet, but it wasn’t San Diego’s wettest May. In fact, it didn’t crack the city’s top 10. It was cool, but many other Mays have been cooler, including last year. But May 2019 was certainly among the city’s all-time weirdest. And to San Diego County’s $1.77 billion agricultural industry, it was nothing short of wonderful. “We haven’t had a recent May where we’ve had something like this,” National Weather Service forecaster Miguel Miller said. “In the 20 years I’ve been here, I cannot think of another May that was inclement the entire month.”

Mammoth Mountain received record snowfall in May 2019. Photo: Mammoth Mountain, Inc. California Reservoirs

California Reservoirs Near Capacity in May

It has been a winter – and spring – for the record books, for California reservoirs and ski resorts. And, it’s not over yet.

Snow has continued to fall throughout May, with several inches or more in the Sierra Nevada and the southern California mountains.

In the lowlands, the City of San Diego has experienced one of its wettest months of May on record. The San Diego National Weather Service reported that Alpine and El Cajon set daily precipitation records on May 23.

The normal rainfall at Lindbergh Field during the water year (October 1 – September 30) averages about 10.3 inches. In the current water year, 12.7 inches of rain has been recorded at Lindbergh Field as of May 23.

May snowfall in the Sierra Nevada

“It’s atypical to see the snowpack increase in May,” said Alexi Schnell, water resources specialist with the San Diego County Water Authority. “The impact of atmospheric river storms helped push snowpack levels in the northern Sierra to 172 percent of normal as of May 23.”

Statewide Summary of Sierra Nevada Snow Water Content

A bountiful year for snow continued into May in the Sierra Nevada. Graphic: California DWR

Record snowfall also allowed many ski areas, from Squaw Alpine to Mammoth Mountain, to extend their ski seasons into late-Spring, with fresh powder in May a bonus for skiers.

A May to remember at Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain tweeted that it has received 29 inches of snow as of May 23, “officially our snowiest May on record, beating out May 2015.” (Video courtesy of Mammoth Mountain).

Major reservoirs near capacity

Many of the state’s major reservoirs are near capacity and are significantly above their historical averages as of May 23. Lake Shasta is at 97 percent of capacity and at 113 percent of its historical average.

Most major California reservoirs are near capacity and significantly above historical averages for May 23.

Most major California reservoirs are near capacity and significantly above historical averages for May 23. Graphic: California DWR

Summer is coming

Schnell cautions that this current water year is an exception, and the climatological cycle in California can bring several consecutive years of drought, like the 2015-2017 period, which prompted mandatory water-use reductions.

While the winter and spring has been ‘atypical,’ the summer could set some records too.

“Looking ahead over the next three months, the National Weather Service forecast shows that there is a greater than 50 percent chance the region will be warmer than normal,” Schnell said.

NWS Climate Prediction Center 3-month temperature outlook

NWS Climate Prediction Center three-month temperature outlook. Graphic: NWS/NOAA

Late-Season Rains Mask Looming Fire Danger As Lush Plants Turn Dry And Explosive

Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago, the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through, destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life with great speed. And all those flowering black mustard plants point to a looming disaster once the rains finally end and Southern California shifts to its dry, hot, windy summer and fall.

California’s Unusually Wet Spring Is Delaying, Damaging Crops

California growers are frustrated by an unusually wet spring that has delayed the planting of some crops like rice and damaged others including strawberries and wine grapes. The state’s wet conditions come as much of the West is experiencing weird weather. Colorado and Wyoming got an unusually late dump of snow this week. Meanwhile temperatures in Phoenix have dropped 15 degrees below normal. Large swaths of California have seen two to five times more precipitation than is normal for this point in May, the National Weather Service said. A series of storms soaked much of Colusa County where rice grower Kurt Richter was forced to wait weeks to seed his land.

May Is Proving To Be A Wet Blanket For California — And More Rain Is On The Way

The calendar shows it’s almost Memorial Day — typically beach weather in Southern California — but gray skies are signaling that unusually chilly temperatures and rain will stick around a bit longer during a month that has already broken precipitation records. The forecast this month has been a doozy in California with rain, hail and snow falling across much of the Golden State two months after the end of winter. Large swaths of the state, including parts of Los Angeles, have seen two to five times more precipitation than is normal for this point in May, according to the National Weather Service.

Fresh Rain And Light Snow Expected In San Diego County Tuesday Night

Another unseasonably cold Pacific storm will blow ashore late Tuesday night, bringing showers to the coast, heavier rain to inland foothills and valleys, and about one inch of snow to the top of Mount Laguna, says the National Weather Service. The storm will produce sporadic precipitation at the coast until Thursday, producing roughly 0.25 of rain in San Diego. About twice as much will fall in the upper foothills. It’s also possible that some south-facing slopes will get one inch of rain


California Is Already Drenched. Now Three ‘Atmospheric Rivers’ May Unload Two Months’ Worth Of Rain.

Californians proudly regard themselves as early adopters and trendsetters. So, of course, they’ll be the first to experience an aberrant weather pattern that is expected in the continental United States over the coming days. A jet stream sagging into the mid latitudes is forecast to drive into the Golden State some unseasonably late precipitation and a lot of it starting Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

March-Like Storm To Blast California With Drenching Rain, Mountain Snow and Severe Weather

After sunshine and pleasant weather grace California early this week, a powerful storm system will barrel into the state during the middle to latter part of the week. The return of a March-like weather pattern, driven by a large dip in the jet stream, will be the culprit for driving this rare storm into the West Coast. Rain will first move into Northern California on Wednesday before overspreading the rest of the state by Wednesday night and Thursday. By the time the storm moves into the Four Corners region later on Friday, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and parts of Northern and coastal California will receive between 1 to 3 inches of rain.

Even Though The Rain Felt Endless This Winter, It Actually Wasn’t That Wet

It’s official: This week, San Francisco surpassed what’s normal for the water year, and the rainy season isn’t over yet. The city measures 23.65 inches of rain on average in a water year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. After a round of light showers on Monday, the downtown gauge’s water-year total hit 23.69 inches. With more unsettled weather in the forecast, that number is bound to inch up even more in April and May, before holding steady through the summer months. While this season has stood out in many people’s minds as noteworthy and painstakingly rainy, “it’s just a normal year,” said Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.

San Diego Reservoirs Fill up As More Rain And Snow Moves Into Region

Forecasters said Tuesday that California’s markedly wet winter will continue to deliver significant rain and copious high-elevation snow to the saturated San Diego area this week. From tomorrow afternoon through early Friday, another cold storm is expected to drop a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of moisture along the coast, three-quarters of an inch to 1.5 inches in the inland valleys, 1.5 to two inches in the mountains, and 0.1 to 0.2 of an inch in the deserts, according to the National Weather Service.