While much of the western U.S. continues to suffer from a punishing drought, the Bay Area was close to its normal total precipitation over the last year, state officials said this week.
According to data from the state’s Department of Water Resources, the Bay Area received roughly 82 percent of its annual average rainfall during the 2021-22 water year, measured from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022.
That outpaced statewide precipitation, which only reached 76 percent of the average annual total. The northeastern part of the state was the only other region with an average rainfall total that eclipsed the state’s.
According to Michael Anderson, the state climatologist, the Bay Area’s higher rainfall was boosted largely by the atmospheric river storms that blanketed the region in October 2021.
That said, California is still in the midst of its driest period ever recorded.
“Water years 2021 and 2022 are now the driest three-year stretch in the observed record that begins with water year 1986,” Anderson said. “The previous record in 2013, 2014 and 2015 was a little over 49 inches (of precipitation). This three-year stretch is coming in just over 46.”
With another La Nina winter likely on the horizon, according to state water officials, bringing with it more dry conditions, the state is likely to see drought conditions continue for months and years to come.
“We saw this past year things went from very wet to very dry,” Anderson said. “So we just have to be very attentive to those weather forecasts — they offer us a short window, one to two weeks at a time — but be ready for anything that might come our way.”