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Season totals lag behind amid a dry February: March Outlook

By Reginald Stanley. Posted February 26, 2021, 4:26 PM.

A dry, windy pattern has held steady for more than half of the month of February this year, while any storms since the New Year have mostly been not very wet and infrequent.

February 2021 has featured well-below average rainfall across Southern California, as well as slightly warmer than average temperatures, mainly towards the end of the month. Only a small number of storms have impacted the region during the 2020-2021 rainy season up to this point, however several of them were modestly wet. Infrequent rainfall since October has pushed season-to-date totals into much drier than average ranges, with precipitation deficits through the end of February averaging around 6 inches below normal. Season totals across the majority of WeatherCurrents stations are currently between 3 and 5 inches, well short of more typical ranges of between 8 and 11 inches for this time of the year. The wettest months of the year, on average, are December through March in Southern California. With all of those months seeing below-average rainfall thus far, and a weak outlook for the beginning of March, time is running out for regional rainfall to catch up to even several inches of average.

As of Friday, February 26, a single weak trough is forecast to potentially bring light rainfall to the region around Tuesday night through Wednesday of next week. Longer-term forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center for the month of March have not been promising. The Climate Prediction Center released maps showing a 33 percent chance of above-average temperatures and a 33 percent chance of below-average precipitation for Southern California through the end of March, with equal chances of both further upstate. During the 2019-2020 season, it should be noted that a large bulk of the season's precipitation fell in March and early April - a rarity in recent years. If the 2020-2021 rainy season were to end today, it would be the first rainy season since 2017-2018 to feature widespread below-average rainfall.

A moderate-strength La Nina has been present in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since Autumn of 2020. Historically, La Nina events have been associated with below-average rainfall in Southern California.

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The San Jacinto, California weather pages are a service of WeatherCurrents. San Jacinto is located in the heart of the San Jacinto Valley, near Hemet, the Soboba Casino, and at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains.
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