So Far El Niño Rainfall Totals a Big Disappointment

Another storm is headed for California  this week, but according to rainfall totals for the second half of the year so far in both Northern and Southern California, this El  Niño may not be the drought-buster many had hoped for California, especially as compared to the last big one in 1997.

Scientist  say the current El Niño is near its peak intensity and showing some signs of easing up. While it’s still early in the season, The National Weather Service, looking at rainfall totals for the same period in 1997, July 1 to December 5, things were a whole lot wetter in the fall of '97 than the fall of '15.

For example, looking at various totals at different locations in the Bay Area,, Oakland saw only 1.45 inches since July, while 9.66 inches fell during the same period in '97. Kentfield, which saw a whopping 18.53 inches in '97, has seen only 2.55 inches since July. And Napa, which got over 10 inches during that last big El Niño fall, has only seen 2.33 inches this year.

But then again, forecasters like climatologist Bill Patzert have also reminded us of the “December lull” in California in terms of rain.  All signs still point to a different scenario when the rainfall season peaks in  January and February.

Essentially the new report is just saying that November was a disappointment, rain-wise, even though Mammoth Mtn. and Lake Tahoe has already enjoyed the heaviest early-season snows it's seen in years

Overall wisdom has pointed to likely an average-snowfall winter for Lake Tahoe and the Sierras, with far more precipitation likely to hit us here in Southern California early next year. But that is not to say that the entire state won't get drenched by surprise any week in our near future.

This week's storm is expected to bring heavy rain by Wednesday, to Northern California  and snow in the Northern Mountains. Here in So Cal?  Not so much. Most of the Rain will stay north with only about 1/10th to .25” likely to make it’s way to LA and points South. It will be followed by another cold system with some chilly, 40-degree nights by Sunday with more rain possible early Monday.

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