Skiers and snowboarders already know this: California’s recent storms have lifted the state’s precipitation totals to the respectable range in the northern part of the state, and to well above normal in the south, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.
The statewide distribution of precipitation for the period from July 1 to Dec. 9 has been irregular, said Null, showing the effects of concentrations caused by atmospheric rivers. For example, areas from the southern Bay Area south to Big Sur received especially heavy rain from one of these fire hose-like systems during Thanksgiving week.
Also, Null cautions that percent-of-normal figures can be a little deceiving. Roughly 3.5 inches of rain in Los Angeles from the beginning of the rainfall season on July 1 through Dec. 9 amounts to 141% of normal when that normal is 2.5 inches. But a similar amount, 3.7 inches, is just 64% of normal in San Francisco, where 5.8 inches would be expected during the same period.
This year, Northern California got a late start on its rainfall season while Southern California got an early start with some big storms that brought rain statewide. Ordinarily, the rainfall season would begin first in the northern part of the state, then follow a little later in the south.
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