If this weather is making you thirsty, you're not alone. Not only did an otherwise near-record El Niño climate phenomenon fail to deliver much rain to Southern California over winter, but as the traditional ran season came to an end last week, we set an epic record for dryness.
In fact, June 30, the end of the traditional rain season, marked the most parched five-year span in downtown Los Angeles since record-keeping began in the 1870s, the National Weather Service says.
If you were to bet on global warming as a cause, that's probably a safe investment. However, the second-worst five-year dry run L.A. experienced happened before we even coined the term, from 1958 to 1963, according to NWS meteorologist Dave Bruno.
So this could be an anomaly. Or it could be the beginning of the end of life as we know it.
L.A. has seen an average of 7.76 inches of rain each season in downtown Los Angeles since 2011, the NWS reports. That's a little more than half of what we'd normally get, Bruno says.
During the rainy season, which was the subject of a federal outlook that called for a 60 percent chance of above-average rainfall, we saw below-average precipitation. Rainfall, at 9.65 inches by June 30, was 64 percent of normal, which Bruno says is 14.93 inches during a season.
We're still in a full-on drought. The state is requiring local water districts to maintain a three-year supply in anticipation of at least three more years of this stuff.
Bruno says we just have to “keep our fingers crossed.” Really.
“Unfortunately, El Niño didn't pan out,” he says. “We're just going to have to hope for next winter.”