In 2015, local residents are hoping that May showers may bring June flowers. This has been one of the wettest Mays in decades.
Through this weekend, the U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station has recorded 2.7 inches of rain for May, including a half-inch from Friday through Sunday. Pine Cove received about 0.3 inches during this period also totaling 2.7 inches in May. The long-term average for May is only three-quarters of an inch but in 2015, the fourth year of a statewide drought, the Hill has received almost four times the normal precipitation.
Nevertheless, both areas are still below the long-term average for rainfall from July 1 through May 31, which is 25.5 inches. Keenwild’s total this rain year is 13.15 inches, while Pine Cove’s total is 20.5 inches. The Idyllwild Fire Station reports 19.8 inches of rain through May.
Unless June is as unusually wet as May was, 2014-15 is the third consecutive year of below-average rain on the Hill, and the ninth year in the past decade.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Tardy reported that the “past 48 months through April have been the driest in California. We’re missing 28 inches [of rain] across the state.” In Idyllwild, the four-year rain deficit now totals 41.2 inches or the equivalent of one-and-half rain seasons.
NWS still expects an El Niño to strengthen during the summer and maintain into winter, Tardy said. In fact, from July through September, the Hill might experience above-average monsoonal activity.
Despite all the recent wet and cool weather, he reported that the past year, “May through April is still running record warmth. March average 8.2 degrees above normal” and the higher temperatures may continue even if an El Niño condition forms, Tardy added.