While California always trends drier from May into September, there are several months of the year that are critical to our Bay Area rainfall season, especially December, January, February and March.
Lately, these months have brought lackluster Bay Area rain and Sierra snow. Check out the graph below and you can see since 1980 there have only been a handful of times with above-average rainfall. In fact, this year now ranks as the seventh driest on record with three of the top driest years in 2013, 2015 and 2020. It should be said, part of the erratic rain season this year can be attributed to La Niña, which can develop stubborn areas of drying high pressure during winter.
With the seventh driest rain season on record, this is continuing to keep us in a drought. You can see in the picture below all of California is back in a drought. Our Bay Area rain season is also tracking -6.00 inches to -16.00 inches behind this year. At this point, it doesn’t look good for catching up as we should all expect a severe drought to return this summer.
What does all of this mean? Longer fire seasons are expected to return, water restrictions are likely in the next year, crop damage and lower flowing rivers and streams.
You can find out more about our changing Bay Area climate in a series of stories from the entire Microclimate Weather Team.