Southern California experienced a record dry and unusually warm autumn and winter, according to an analysis by the National Weather Service office in San Diego.
For the “water year,” which began Oct. 1, San Diego has received only 37 percent of its normal rainfall. The same is true across the region.
“We’re soft in Southern California, where all areas are 25 to 50 percent of normal,” said meteorologist Alex Tardy.
Luckily in the Sierra Nevada a wet February and March boosted the snowpack’s water equivalent to 65 percent of normal through March 24. “We’ve made some big progress from a very poor snow year for the first part of 2017 and 2018,” said Tardy.
Temperatures during the period have been unusually warm, though not a record. Coastal areas have been averaging 2 to 4 degrees above normal and the mountains 4 to 5 degrees higher.
“We had incredibly warm conditions — especially inland in the mountains — for most of this winter,” said Tardy. “Only recently in February and early March did we get some cooler temperatures.”
The weather service expects April to begin drier and warmer than normal in San Diego and Southern California.
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