Needed rain and snow fell on the Hill this weekend, but the several days of intermittent precipitation did not relieve the drought. Snow — winter’s normal gift to the mountains — did arrive and was visible everywhere, although depths varied considerably.
Between 5,300- and 5,500-foot elevations, temperatures were substantially cold enough to bring considerable snow to the higher elevations. Barely more than an inch of snow fell from Saturday through Monday morning in Strawberry Valley, but Pine Cove received 9.5 inches, more than Big Bear and almost equal to Mt. Summit for this storm. Fern Valley residents reported about 6 inches of snow and 1 inch was recorded at the Idyllwild Fire Station.
At lower elevations, the precipitation came as rain. The U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Guard Station recorded 1.36 inches of rain and the Vista Grande Guard Station recorded 1.34 inches. In Pine Cove, 1.14 inches fell and Idyllwild Fire received about 1.82 inches of rain.
Total rainfall this season (since July 1) has been 16.12 inches in Pine Cove and 15.12 inches at the Idyllwild Fire Station. Both levels remain below the historic average for rain through the end of February, which is 18.7 inches.
The average March rainfall is about another 4.1 inches. The National Weather Service forecast for the next two weeks indicates the likelihood of rain is above normal. But the longer-term forecast for the month says the odds of above- or below-average rainfall are about even. Consequently, there is no expectation that the drought conditions will change in the Southwest before fall.