Rain totals fall below normal
By Lenny Roberts
Even though the hillsides and
open fields are covered with wild grass, the Ojai Valley has
slipped below the average rainfall totals since the measuring
season began Oct. 1.
While disappointing most trick-or-treaters, the rainy season
got off to a great start locally Oct. 31 when more than 3 inches
was recorded at Casitas Dam, but fizzled during November, when
just .73 inches was recorded. The last measurable rain - not
much more than a drizzle - was recorded Nov. 16, when .05 of
To date, County Fire Station 21 on East Ojai Avenue, the city
of Ojai's official reporting site, has recorded just 2.28 inches
of rain, or 60.5 percent of normal. By comparison, nearly 5.4
inches of rain had fallen by this time last year.
In November, 1.3 inches of rain is typical, and December ranks
tied with March as the third-rainiest month of the year at 3.5
inches, behind January's 4.9 and February's 4.5.
The National Weather Service Web site is predicting sporadic
rain today, tonight, Thursday and Sunday, but there are no major
winter storm systems on the immediate horizon. AccuWeather, the
Ojai Valley News' forecasting source, indicates that after Sunday,
little or no rain is anticipated through at least Christmas.
NWS meteorologist Curt Kaplan confirmed the predictions, but
added that the chance of isolated thunderstorms could bring as
much as a half-inch of rain Thursday afternoon.
"Our computer models say that there's a 30 percent chance
of rain Sunday, with hit-and-miss showers, but we'll be sort
of high and dry after that event. After that, it's too hard to
tell," Kaplan said, adding that predictions are based on
several different computer models, including aviation, ETA, European
"What works best is when they all initialize well, meaning
that they all start at the same time and agree. But a lot of
times they disagree, so we have to use our local knowledge, being
that we're out here we know the microclimates."
Kaplan said the long-range forecast indicates precipitation levels
should be normal for Southern California. For the Ojai Valley,
that means we can expect to see as much as 20 inches of rain
by the end of April.
East End avocado and citrus rancher Jim Coultas, who also is
a Casitas Municipal Water District board member, called the Halloween
rain a godsend, but was quick to add that Lake Casitas now stands
at 74,785 acre feet below capacity.
"I would have hoped we got more by now," he said. "I
began irrigating again, and that water is very expensive. With
everybody irrigating in December, it's a real serious drain on
the lake as well as the financial drain on those of us who have
to buy the water.
"I will say this: let us hope that history repeats itself.
Since the county's been keeping water records. whenever we have
under-average rainfall before Christmas, we have over-average
rainfall in January, February and March, and the reverse is true.
It's only been not true one year, in 1944. If we end up with
average rainfall, we've got 17 more inches coming. That's pretty
good, and I'd be happy with that. Unfortunately, that's not enough
to fill Lake Casitas."
The Ojai Valley News
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