Everybody Talks About the Weather

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Update January 21: we’re entering a dry period forecast to last for the rest of the month.  This is a good time to update my previous work on rainfall in the greater Bay Area.  This time I’ve included cities further afield such as Eureka, Fresno, and Los Angeles.

The results are encouraging. Every city has exceeded the normal season to date.  Twenty-five of the 63 cities have exceeded the normal rainfall for the entire season. In one of the stranger aspects of this year’s rain pattern, Eureka is last on both lists.  That city is located in Humboldt County in the northwest part of the state.  They usually get a lot of rain.  This year they’re barely keeping up.

Here’s the data.  Reminder: the graph with normal season to date measures rainfall so far this season divided by normal rainfall to the date of this data (about January 19).  Season normal measures rainfall so far divided by the normal rainfall for the entire season ending July 1.  At this point, I’m declaring the drought over.  We will start taking more frequent showers, much to the delight of our friends and neighbors.  There’s a brand new Excel workbook for these charts.

Season to date : Normal season to date Everybody talks about the weather

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Season to date : Season normal Everybody talks about the weather

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Original article follows.

Everybody talks about the weather, so why should I be any different?  As you may know, there has been a lot of rain in California this year.  The serious rain season is November through February (although there have been quite a few wet Octobers and Marches).  Technically a new rain season begins on July 1 every year, squarely in the middle of coastal California’s dry months.

Facts About California

To Californians, there is one central question: Is the drought finally over? Don’t ask the water bureaucrats.  They want to keep the population scared.  And they are largely responsible for the woeful lack of water storage in the state.  I’ve written about this here and here and here and probably several other articles.  The question is how well we’re doing with respect to the averages.  I used the daily rainfall table from the San Jose Mercury-News for January 10.  The table also reports normal rainfall to date and season normal total.  I looked at two percentages.  First is the season rainfall to date as a percentage of normal rainfall to date.  Second is the season rainfall to date as a percentage of normal rainfall for the entire rainfall season.  Remember, we still have several more months when rain is likely.  As always, my methods and data are transparent.  Click here to download the usual Excel workbook.

The Data

I looked at data for 56 cities in the greater San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose area. These cities are in nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Napa, and Sonoma. Of those 56 cities, exactly one was below the season average to date. Fully eight have already exceeded their season normal total.  Here are the graphs. The bright orange line is 100 percent, meaning the total to date equals the normal to date or season normal.

Season to date % normal to date everybody talks about the weather

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Season to date % season normal everybody talks about the weather

(click for larger image)

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.

2 Replies to “Everybody Talks About the Weather”

  1. Mick

    Nice work, Tony. Interesting comment on Eureka. I remember going up there in 1978 for a high school basketball trip. It was raining when we got there, rained the entire time we were there, was raining when we left.
    Look forward to seeing the updates!