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How Dry was 2013? Cities of Riverside and L.A. Had Driest Calendar Years on Record

BLM Fire personnel about to retreat from Ellis Drive in Poppet Flats as fire crosses road from west to east, Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
BLM Fire personnel about to retreat from Ellis Drive in Poppet Flats as fire crosses road from west to east, Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
The calendar year that just ended was so dry the lack of rainfall set new records in the cities of Riverside and Los Angeles, and other parts of Southern California.

But 2013 was not the driest year on record for Palm Springs. The San Gorgonio Pass area received significant rains during the late monsoon season at the end of August, and local waterfalls did not stop flowing.

Most of spring and summer were plenty dry though. When the first significant wildfire of 2013 broke out in the Pass, some incident commanders in Beaumont warned crew supervisors "This is like October in May."

So how dry was it?

"The city of Riverside broke its all time driest calendar year record since 1893, when locals first began collecting data," San Diego-based NOAA meteorologist James Thomas said in a phone interview Monday.

Instruments at Riverside Municipal Airport measured 3.36 inches from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, Thomas said. The previous record driest calendar year for the city of Riverside was 3.43 inches in 1961.

Instruments for downtown Los Angeles/USC measured 3.6 inches for 2013, setting a new record for the driest calendar year in L.A. since locals began collecting data in 1877, according to Weather Service staff in Oxnard.

The city of Palm Springs received 2.23 inches from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, Thomas said. The record driest calendar year for Palm Springs was .76 inch in 2002. Locals began collecting data in Palm Springs in 1906.

National Weather Service staff in San Diego posted a video Jan. 6 headlined "State of the Climate and Outlook for Spring," which is attached to this report.

Weather Service staff also recently posted Weather Highlights of 2013 and Photo Gallery 2013 Weather.

Below are links to coverage of several weather-related events in 2013 you found exclusively on Banning-Beaumont Patch, Redlands-Loma Linda Patch and Palm Desert Patch.

Inside the Silver Fire: Photos From Evacuated Areas in San Jacinto Mtns

PHOTOS: Storm Unleashes More Mud and Rocks in Forest Falls, 2 Homes Damaged

BLACK FLOOD: Man Describes Front End of Post-Fire Debris Flow in Poppet Flats

STORM VIDEO: Sights and Sounds in Geologically Active Forest Falls, California

VIDEO: Poppet Flats Resident Helps Neighbor Dig Out From Black Post-Fire Mud Flows

UPDATE: Dangerous Beauty: Three More Injured at Falls in Mill Creek Canyon

Rob Turmer January 06, 2014 at 08:15 PM
A great idea to build even more houses in area that will see nothing but drought getting worse. Bad enough there isn't a lot of water in the first place but then the powers that be think its a great idea to divide it even more. High water bills and conservation mandates, yippee.
Jeremiah January 06, 2014 at 08:45 PM
I don't know - I have lived in Southern California for 62 years and ran a ski resort for 10 of those and my perception doesn't match these figures. There have been much drier summers and much wetter ones as well. This one had more rain than most for the last few years, not less! I wonder where they are putting their rain gauges - under trees or something? Unfortunately this winter is showing signs of being one of the warmest and driest I have seen, and that spells trouble for the amount of available water because snowpack is the biggest reservoir of that and so far it is almost non-existant. **** Jeremiah
Russ Russell January 07, 2014 at 07:24 AM
I'm surprised that this article didn't blame the drought on human caused Global Warming. Tree ring studies have indicated severe droughts off and on over the last 1000 years. Calif. just needs to stop using so much water allowing residents to water their lawns and Golf Courses. Its not unusual to see individuals washing down their driveways
rubberband January 07, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Hey Russ- I am blaming everything on Jeremiah...because he ran a ski resort for ten years and never invited me to PAR-TAY" back in the day"...it'd been legendary...After some good (or even bad) scotch, the snow ain't so cold.

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