Rain in village of Idyllwild Dec.. 13, 2012. Photo by JP Crumrine

The first half of the 2013 rain year ended Saturday. Idyllwild Fire Department reported 7.81 inches fell in town between July 1, 2012, and Dec. 31. The Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded 6.76 inches during the same period compared to 8.43 inches from July 2011 through December 2011.

The long-term average rainfall from July through December is 9.22 inches. Thus the IFPD has recorded about 85 percent of the long-term average, while rainfall at Keenwild was about one-third less than average.

Since 2006, the rain volume through December has ranged from 3.85 inches in 2006 to 17.38 in 2010. The six-month total is a rough approximation of the 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 in 2011.

In 2007 and 2009, the six-month total was slightly more than 8.5 inches each year and the 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 2013, climatologists foresee neither a wet winter or spring but a continuation of neutral conditions through the spring of 2013. There is currently no clear consensus for an El Niño nor La Niña condition beyond late spring.

The seasonal temperature outlook for January through March 2013 indicates enhanced chances for above normal temperatures for much of the southern half of the continental U.S. except for coastal Southern California, Florida, and along parts of the Southeast coast.

According to the Jan. 1, 2013, Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center (for the state and federal fire agencies) report, “Troughing may develop over the central U.S. Thus, a drier northwesterly flow may develop over [California] toward the middle to latter part of [January]. This would lead to drier conditions, especially over Southern California.”

Further into the late winter and spring, they forecast: “Precipitation may be slightly above normal in Central California while precipitation may be a bit below normal further south if the last vestiges of the dissipating [El Niño] influence the weather for a bit longer. But as a district-wide average, the current atmospheric pattern supports near normal precipitation. One or two offshore flow events can be expected each month with slightly more this spring than during the past couple of years.”