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2013 Was Driest Year On Record for Riverside, L.A.

BLM Fire personnel about to retreat from Ellis Drive in Poppet Flats as fire crosses road from west to east, Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
BLM Fire personnel about to retreat from Ellis Drive in Poppet Flats as fire crosses road from west to east, Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
The calendar year that just ended was so dry the lack of rainfall set new records in the cities of Riverside and Los Angeles, and other parts of Southern California.

But 2013 was not the driest year on record for Palm Springs. The San Gorgonio Pass area received significant rains during the late monsoon season at the end of August, and local waterfalls did not stop flowing.

Most of spring and summer were plenty dry though. When the first significant wildfire of 2013 broke out in the Pass, some incident commanders in Beaumont warned crew supervisors "This is like October in May."

So how dry was it?

"The city of Riverside broke its all time driest calendar year record since 1893, when locals first began collecting data," San Diego-based NOAA meteorologist James Thomas said in a phone interview Monday.

Instruments at Riverside Municipal Airport measured 3.36 inches from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, Thomas said. The previous record driest calendar year for the city of Riverside was 3.43 inches in 1961.

Instruments for downtown Los Angeles/USC measured 3.6 inches for 2013, setting a new record for the driest calendar year in L.A. since locals began collecting data in 1877, according to Weather Service staff in Oxnard.

The city of Palm Springs received 2.23 inches from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, Thomas said. The record driest calendar year for Palm Springs was .76 inch in 2002. Locals began collecting data in Palm Springs in 1906.

National Weather Service staff in San Diego posted a video Jan. 6 headlined "State of the Climate and Outlook for Spring," which is attached to this report.

Weather Service staff also recently posted Weather Highlights of 2013 and Photo Gallery 2013 Weather. --By Guy McCarthy

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