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February rain deficit pointing towards another drought in California

The recent rain in March is certainly nice but it is not going to make up for the deficit from a dry February.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego's recent storm has brought some relief from our rainfall shortage. I spoke with Meteorologist Alex Tardy with the National Weather Service about what it means in the long haul.

"With the winter more than halfway through we are on the dry side across the state of California," said Tardy. "Even with the recent rains California is at less than 50% of our normal precipitation according to date and our snowpack is in the same category, just about 50% to 70%. That includes our biggest mountains, the Sierra Nevada."

This year's low rainfall and snowpack can be attributed to La Nina, the colder ocean temperature along the equator in the Pacific. Tardy say this La Nina is different.

"What's unusual this year though we're not only below average, we're well below average. So, I would say we're even drier than we might expect in a La Nina Winter," said Tardy. 

February is normally one of the wettest in San Diego.

"We have places in Southern California for the month of February that have only received 5% to 10% of what they should receive of what should be our wettest month," continued Tardy. 

Even if we have a March miracle, it will be hard for the vegetation to catch up according to Tardy.

"So, it's really important for the timing the fire officials talk about greening up. Getting everything where it should be before that long hot dry summer that we have," Tardy noted.

That is the small weather window we're in right now.

"It's a stress on our vegetation, our insects, our natural animals that are roaming around," said Alex Tardy who knows missing one of the wettest months of rain has a huge ripple effect. "When we have individual years like this it's very much a stress on our ecosystem here in Southern California." 

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