Record dryness

Napa sets low rainfall record

2013-12-30T16:58:00Z 2014-02-14T16:29:35Z Napa sets low rainfall recordPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
December 30, 2013 4:58 pm  • 

For Napa County, Tuesday, the 365th day of 2013 figures to be quite like its predecessors — dry, sunny and warm.

That will put the wraps on the driest year since reliable records started being kept nearly a century ago in Napa. Rain gauges at the Napa County Airport put the total rainfall since Jan. 1 at 4.17 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Were that to become the normal yearly average, for comparison’s sake, it would rival Las Vegas’ annual average of 4.15 inches.

Other areas of Napa Valley have seen varying rainfall totals. Carneros received 3.88 inches this year, according to rainfall data collected by the University of California Cooperative Extension in Napa County.

The city of Napa had 5.68 inches through mid-December, while Oakville received 9.96 inches through Tuesday, according to the UC Cooperative Extension.

But all totals fell well short of the 25 inches of rainfall an average year receives, and NWS forecasts show no end to the sunny weather in sight.

The forecast for New Year’s Eve is sunny, with intermittent cloud cover, and temperatures in the mid- to low-60s. Overnight lows will be near freezing, according to the NWS.

That forecast remains constant through the end of the week, although there’s a chance the area could get some rain in the extended 10-day forecast, NWS forecaster Steve Anderson said.

It won’t be the deluge some residents are hoping for, however, Anderson said.

“It will be more of the same for the next week,” Anderson said. “There may be a chance of rain after that. It’s just a little bit of rain — if at all.”

Anderson said a persistent high pressure system off the West Coast, including California, is the reason for the dry, sunny weather Napa’s seen recently. It’s pushing inclement weather up into Canada, he said.

When that system will break up and bring in rain is anyone’s guess, Anderson said.

“All patterns are pretty locked into place,” he said.

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