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Storms put LA at above-average yearly rainfall

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Downtown LA’s gotten 15 inches of rain this water year

The city has already gotten 9.03 inches of rainfall since January 1.
AP

It’s five months into the water year, and Los Angeles has already received the amount of rain it typically gets in the 12-month period.

The National Weather Service announced that at 10 a.m. today, Downtown LA’s rainfall total for the current water year, which starts in October, had surpassed the average of 14.93 inches.

It has already rained more days than not in February, and the monthly precipitation total stood at 3.09 inches Monday, just under the historical average of 3.21 inches.

By Thursday afternoon, another 1.42 inches had fallen, bringing the total to above 4.5 inches for the month. That’s still a long way from the wettest February on record: In 1998, 13.68 inches fell on Downtown Los Angeles.

Still, LA is also coming off a string of dry water years. Commonly used by meteorologists and other climate scientists to examine precipitation trends, water years begin October 1. Since the decade began, only two water years have seen above-average rainfall in Los Angeles.

Between October and Valentine’s Day last year, less than 2 inches of rain fell in Downtown LA.

Recent storms are also putting Los Angeles on track to surpass its calendar-year rainfall average for the first time since 2010. In less than two months, the city has already gotten over 10 inches of rainfall—more than two-thirds of the yearly average.

All this wet weather has alleviated the drought conditions that have plagued Southern California for most of the last decade. A report last week from the U.S. Drought Monitor downgraded LA County’s drought level from “moderate drought” to “abnormally dry.”

More wet weather has also created hazardous conditions in many of the region’s flood-prone hillside communities, particularly those affected by recent wildfires. Officials closed parts of Topanga Canyon Boulevard Thursday due to mud and debris flows.

On the bright side, the rainy weather bodes well for those awaiting wildflower blooms in Southern California. Though most of the region’s dormant flowers won’t burst into bloom until early spring, cool damp conditions in the winter months are a key indicator that explosions of color across LA’s meadows and hillsides will be particularly intense when warmer weather arrives.