SAN DIEGO — San Diego County has seen its fair share of storms over the last year, bringing historic levels of rainfall to the region.
After the driest three-year period on record, California has been battered by extensive precipitation, between a series of unrelenting atmospheric rivers that hit last winter and more recently, Tropical Storm Hilary.
The rainfall with these events eased most of the state out of drought conditions, while at the same time causing widespread flooding, mudslides and rockslides.
The storms also broke regional records. Throughout March and April, winter storms dropped more across San Diego in about 45 “wet days” than in the entirety of 2022. When Hilary hit months later, the rainfall broke records in some parts of the county for the wettest August day on record.
While the calendar year is far from over, the “water year,” which is a 12-month period from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 that is used to measure precipitation totals, comes to an end on Saturday.
At the end of August, rainfall totals for San Diego County had already significantly exceeded the region’s normal levels — in some parts coming in at nearly double the annual average — with more than a month left in the water year.
Now that the water year has wrapped up, how much rain has the county received?
Across six of the National Weather Service’s reporting sites used for the region’s climate report, San Diego County received an average rainfall total of about 20.5 inches this 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 County Water Authority (SDCWA).
When broken down by the reporting stations, accumulated precipitation totals vary slightly, ranging from around 16 inches to just under 26 inches.
Of the sites in NWS’ report, Ramona came in first with the most precipitation this water year, receiving about 25.57 inches. Between the end of August and September, the site received an additional 0.01 inch of rain.
As Ramona 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 coastal neighborhoods, Carlsbad has seen the most rainfall since October, totaling about 23.91 inches — more than double the annual average for the community. Over the last month, 0.08 inches were added to the year’s cumulative total at the site.
Oceanside closely followed with a total of about 21.81, according to NWS — a roughly 0.03 inch increase from August to September.
San Diego International Airport recorded the least precipitation in the county this water year with about 15.76 inches to date, which is about 60% above the annual average. According to SDCWA, the last time the airport recorded total rainfall above 15 inches was in 2005.
Below is a breakdown of the six stations’ total accumulated precipitation in inches from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023, including comparisons with the last five water years.
|Montgomery Field (Kearny Mesa)||18.32||7.19||6.03||13.37||13.46||3.66|
|San Diego International Airport||15.76||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|