How Dry Are We? Local Rainfall Was 23 Percent of Normal in 2013

This year was the driest on record, with Oakland Airport breaking its previous record by nearly 4 inches.

A dry riverbed in California in 2009. Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A dry riverbed in California in 2009. Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
If you're feeling a little parched as this year comes to a close, there's a reason.

On Tuesday, Oakland — and the rest of Northern California — finished 2013 with the driest rainfall year on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported its rain gauges at Oakland International Airport — the official weather station closest to Alameda — recorded 4.89 inches of precipitation in 2013.

That's 23 percent of the normal annual total of 20.81 inches at the airport.

It was also nearly 4 inches below the previous record of 8.65 inches, set in 1976.

At NOAA's main Oakland rain gauges, the results were even more dramatic: 4.24 inches, only 18 percent of the normal 23.96 inches and nearly 6 inches below the previous record low of 10.02 inches, also set in 1976.

Rainfall records extend back 50 years at the Oakland Airport and 42 years for central Oakland.

For more about this year's record low precipitation, see "Bay Area Rainfall Lowest on Record – By Far."

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Liz Taylor January 01, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Fresh water truly is one of our most precious resources and as climate models have predicted, we may be in for some horrendous droughts. This points to a real cause for pause when thinking about new development- where exactly will the water needed come from? It may be time to start investing in waste water reclamation and conservation.
pricklypair January 01, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Bought into some desalination stocks myself, some impressive work being done as of late.
Liz Taylor January 01, 2014 at 02:20 PM
Desal is not a real option in terms of costs and environmental damage - it is a story being played out in Southern CA too http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/10/local/la-me-desal-huntington-20131111
mr magoo January 06, 2014 at 02:11 PM
raindance anyone?


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