The first half of the 2011/2012 rain year ended Saturday, Dec. 31. Idyllwild Fire Department (IFPD) reported 9.85 inches fell in town between July 1, 2011 and Dec. 31. The Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded 8.43 inches during the same period.

The long-term average rainfall from July through December is 9.22 inches. Thus IFPD recorded about 6.8 percent more rainfall than the average, while rainfall at Keenwild was about 8.6 percent less than average.

Since 2006, the rain volume through December has ranged from 3.85 in 2006 to 17.38 last year. The six-month total is a rough approximation of annual rainfall.

For the 12 months from July 1 to June 30, Idyllwild has averaged 25.7 inches of rain annually. Since 2006, the Hill has exceeded that amount only once — 29.4 inches last year.

In 2007 and 2009, the six-month total was slightly more than 8.5 inches each year and final rain volume was 23.6 inches and 24.8 inches in those years.

As we enter spring, the average rainfall from January through June has been 16.5 inches. For 2012, climatologists do not foresee a wet winter or spring.

“Precipitation during the January-March timeframe may be below normal, especially over Southern California,” according to the “Seasonal Outlook” prepared by the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center, which supports all the local federal and state fire agencies.

In early December, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center’s latest forecast reported an increased chance of above average temperatures across the south-central and southeastern U.S. during December 2011 through February 2012 and “drier-than-average conditions are more likely across the southern tier of the U.S.”