On average, the month of July is the driest month of the year in many areas of California. Los Angeles and San Diego only average 0.01 of an inch and 0.03 of an inch, respectively, of rain each July.
The 1.49 inches of rain that fell on Saturday and Sunday at San Diego caused the city to break its long-standing July rainfall record of 0.92 of an inch from 1902. Los Angeles also set a new July rainfall record with the weekend's 0.38 of an inch. The previous record was 0.18 of an inch from 1986.
However, the remains of Tropical Storm Dolores has resulted in record rainfall over southern California over the past few days. Many rainfall records were shattered this past weekend.
July rains are rare in southern California but not unheard of, especially in El Nino years. In a previous posting this summer we discussed the possibility of an active tropical storm season in the eastern Pacific. That activity has come to fruition and there will likely be other tropical storms and hurricanes that may bring more summer rain chances to drought stricken California and other portions of the southwestern U.S. Therefore, California may have another chance or two at heavy July/August rainfall in some areas.
Cattle producers in California, Nevada and Arizona (and even Utah) can expect good chances for more summer rain. The long range outlook is continuing to look more and more promising this fall and winter for the far west. The latest long range forecast for the 90 day period of December, January and February from the Japanese Meteorological Agency shows a classic El Nino precipitation pattern, with enhanced rainfall over drought stricken California.