While it has been a very wet winter with precipitation exceeding the long-term historical averages, the March rain production was considerably below normal — less than an inch.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Keenwild Ranger Station recorded just 0.4 inches of rainfall during March and Pine Cove received 0.5 inches in the past four weeks. The long-term average rainfall on the Hill for March is 4.14 inches, nearly eight times the actual March 2017 rain.
This recent dry spell is only a divergence from the past winter when total rainfall since July 1, 2016, has easily exceeded the long-term average. In Pine Cove, nearly 37 inches of rain has fallen, almost 50 percent more than normal. Keenwild has received 26 inches of rain, equal to the average for the year and 3.2 inches more than the average through the end of March.
The National Weather Service is not forecasting above-average rain through spring, but the chances of an El Niño returning in the fall are growing, according to the NWS.