Not only is today February 29 - a date that only occurs approximately once every four years - today also marks the last day of the climatologically wettest month in Southern California. The temperature is projected to soar to above 80 degrees, a mark it has exceeded 11 times this month already. Downtown Los Angeles received a paltry 0.79" of rain (3.01" below normal for the month). That means that, as of February 29, 2016, Downtown Los Angeles has not even received 5" of rain (4.99" to be exact).
That. Is. Pathetic.
The unusual dryness is not limited just to Southern California. The entire state has a miserably dry February. Because of this, many areas in Northern California that were soaked in January have fallen behind their "year-to-date averages":
Needless to say: El Nino rains were a bust.
But the pattern might change: Miracle March
We're now in March. The "rain season" in California can technically stretch well into April and, in some years, even May. All eyes, therefore, are on the prospects of a "Miracle March"
And you know what? It looks like the weather goddesses may grant our wish. The longer-range climate models are suggesting a return to very wet weather between March 6 and March 21, suggesting a complete shift in the pattern to one that might finally finally finally resemble what we would expect during an El Nino:
The maps above show the model forecast precipitation anomalies for days 8-14 (March 7-14) and days 15-21 (March 14-21). At this time, the models are suggesting some very wet weeks ahead.
The fun might begin on Sunday: A storm is brewing
The weather models (specifically the GFS and the European model) are suggesting that the pattern will finally shift beginning this Sunday, March 6. Both models bring a potent cold front through the region sometime on Sunday afternoon. Here are maps showing precipitation for the 6-hour period ending at 4pm Sunday, March 6:
(GFS is on the left, European model is on the right).
Right now, both models are suggesting anywhere between 0.25 and 0.75" of rain falling in the Los Angeles area on Sunday. However, if the longer-range models are any indication, this rain could just be the beginning of a large-scale pattern shift toward very wet March weather :)
If the GFS model is right, we could be looking at very large rainfall accumulations across the state by just mid-month: