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Driest Year Ever For L.A.

Driest Year Ever For L.A.
A place called Long Beach by Tony DeSantis/LA Weekly Flickr pool

Blame global warming. Or, if you're not a believer, simply point to the long-term ebb and flow of SoCal's stormy-or-mild winters.

But it's dry out there. And we're not just talking about the recent beach days we've seen in SoCal. (LAX tied 1985's record high temperature of 85 yesterday).

We're on track to record the driest year L.A.'s ever had. Ever:

Downtown Los Angeles has so far recorded 3.49 inches of precipitation, the lowest amount since officials started keeping such records way back in 1877, according to the National Weather Service.

We have nearly two weeks to go, but it's not looking good. Even rain predicted for Thursday might not show, National Weather Service weather specialist Bonnie Bartling told us.

"We're not seeing any rain through the end of the month," she said.

We have more than a half inch to go before 2013 would lose out to the current record holder, 1953, which saw 4.08 inches. Normal rainfall for downtown L.A. is nearly 15 inches.

If you're a native or long-time Angeleno, though, you know there's rarely a normal year. It can either be a Pineapple Express of Pacific storms or a trickle.

This year it's a trickle, with year-to-date rain equaling about one-fourth of so-called normal, the NWS says.

Driest Year Ever For L.A.
Jon Sittner/LA Weekly Flickr pool

What gives?

Bartling says there's little about the year's weather patterns that speak to a dry year so far. We're not in the midst of a La Nina or an El Nino, the latter of which would at least bring some rain.

"We're in neutral," she says. "It doesn't give us indicators one way or another. We could be above below or average."

There's one big caveat here, however. The weather professionals usually measure annual precipitation by so-called "water years" -- July 1 through June 30.

By that measure, we still have time. And February is SoCal's wettest month. This year was already beat by the 2006-2007 water year, which saw a record low 3.21 inches of wetness.

"There's always hope for rain," Bartling says. "It's like the stock market. It goes up and down."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.