SAN DIEGO — Over the last year, San Diego has been slammed by storm after storm, bringing with it historic levels of rainfall to the state.
After the driest three-year period on record in California, the region has seen extensive precipitation, particularly given the consecutive atmospheric rivers that hit this past winter and more recently, Tropical Storm Hilary.
The rainfall has provided some needed — and unexpected — relief to the drought-stressed state, while at the same time causing widespread flooding, mudslides and rockslides.
Through March, unrelenting winter storms brought on San Diego County’s first bouts of significant rainfall this year, dropping more in about 45 “wet days” than in the entirety of 2022.
While the 2023 is far from over, the “water year,” which is a 12-month period from Oct. 1 to Sep. 30 that is used to measure precipitation totals, is nearing its end and San Diego County’s rainfall has already risen well above normal levels — in some parts it’s nearly double the annual average.
So, just how much rain has the county received this year to date?
Across six of the National Weather Service’s reporting sites used for the region’s climate report, San Diego received an average rainfall total of about 20 inches since the start of the current water year, which began last October.
To put this in perspective, most of the county west of the mountains receives an average of about 10 inches of rain per year. Communities in the inland mountains receive about 33 inches, according to the San Diego Water Authority.
Accumulated precipitation totals vary slightly when broken down by neighborhood, ranging from about 15 inches to just under 26 inches.
Of the sites in NWS’ report, Ramona came in first with the most precipitation this year so far, receiving about 25.56 inches. As the town rests in the foothills, their annual rainfall average falls in between the coastal and mountain averages at about 15 inches, according to NWS.
As for neighborhoods along the coast, Carlsbad has seen the most rainfall since October, totaling about 23.83 inches — more than double the annual average for the community. Oceanside closely followed with a total of about 21.78 inches, according to NWS.
San Diego International Airport has recorded the least precipitation of the county’s sites in the report with 15.71 inches to date, which is about 57% above the annual average.
According to the Water Authority, the last time the airport recorded precipitation above 15 inches was in 2005.
Below is a breakdown of the six stations’ total accumulated precipitation in inches from October to late August, including comparisons with the last five water years.
|Montgomery Field (Kearny Mesa)||18.27||7.19||6.03||13.37||13.46||3.66|
|San Diego International Airport||15.71||6.75||5.24||13.60||12.93||3.34|
|Brown Field (Otay Mesa)||17.74||9.89||6.09||17.51||12.39||4.14|