Following the historic snowfall of December 2021, Mother Nature has gone quiet in Northern California. During the typically wet weeks of January, there has been almost zero considerable precipitation throughout the entire state. Unfortunately, it looks like that trend will continue through at least mid-February.
Climate scientist Daniel Swain delivered a depressing forecast for the coming weeks in Northern California, calling it “the single driest ensemble mean precip prediction I’ve ever seen during peak of California wet season.”
Saving this snapshot for posterity, since I think it's the single driest ensemble mean precip prediction I've ever seen during peak of California wet season. This suggests that virtually every individual GFS ensemble member is completely dry in NorCal for next 16 days. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/mW8ZZr6iaH— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) January 28, 2022
“Unfortunately, there’s just no hint of any meaningful precipitation on the horizon for California over the next 2+ weeks, now heading into mid-February,” wrote Swain on his popular Twitter page.
The forecast piggybacks what could be the driest January ever seen in California. January is typically the rainiest season in California, just edging out December, February and April. In the Bay Area, an average of 4 to 6.5 inches of rain falls on the region during the month. Even during the past two years of extreme drought, the region received and average of 2.5 inches of rain. This year, itâ€™s around zero.
Unfortunately, there's just no hint of any meaningful precipitation on the horizon for California over the next 2+ weeks, now heading into mid-February. This northeastern Pacific ridge sure is starting to look awfully resilient on 6+ week timescale… #CAwx #CAwater (1/2) pic.twitter.com/UHzHwJxSzq— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) January 30, 2022
From October to December 2021, the region saw its wettest Q4 in recorded history, including the snowiest December ever seen in Tahoe. With the record precipitation, the region celebrated the potential end of the drought that has had severe impacts on everyone, especially with historic wildfires.
Now, the averages have returned to normal as areas of Northern California retreat into further drought problems. The last time California received zero precipitation in January was 2015, a year of severe drought.
Of course, there is still plenty of time over the current water year for a continued onslaught of precipitation. Time to start rain dancing, NorCal.