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San Diego Broke Its Saturday Rainfall Record by Over Ten Thousand Percent…And Other Fun Facts

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An inch of rain isn’t a big deal for the majority of the U.S., but for drought-stricken southern California, particularly during the peak of its summer dry season, it’s a really big deal, and it obliterated records on Saturday and Sunday. And there’s yet more rain to come.

San Diego, California officially recorded 1.03″ of rainfall on Saturday (including 0.52″ in one hour between noon and 1pm) – besting its old previous rainfall record of…0.01″. For those of you keeping score at home, that means San Diego broke its old daily rainfall record by an astonishing 10,300 percent, speaking to just how unusual rainfall in southern California is for this time of year. Los Angeles, California recorded 0.30″ of rain at its downtown station, not only a daily rainfall record, but a new July monthly rainfall record (the old one was 0.24″). So, San Diego and Los Angeles had their rainiest July days ever recorded in well over a hundred years of record keeping.

So what’s fueling all of this unusual moisture? The remnants of once-powerful Hurricane Dolores, trekking its way up the Pacific Ocean coastline, is adding moisture to the monsoon machine and combining with a stationary front to deliver the unusual rainfall. The mountains have been receiving the bulk of the moisture, as the forced uplift from California’s San Gabriel and even Sierra Nevada mountains acts to ‘wring out’ moisture, or draw away the most of it.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue to add to area rain totals into Monday, but by Tuesday Dolores’ remnants will pull away into Nevada and the Great Basin, allowing California to resume more, well, California-like weather.

While the rain is most welcome, it certainly doesn’t solve the drought or, frankly, put much of a dent into it. Multi-year rainfall deficits across southern California are still well over a foot, meaning that even an unusually wet winter likely still wouldn’t resolve long-standing drought conditions. However, a strengthening El Nino in the Pacific Ocean could enhance West Coast rainfall this winter, during its typical wet season.

Stay with WeatherNation for all the latest on the California rain.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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