Some of us who live in arid parts of the world think about water with a reverence which others might find excessive.
Joan Didion, The White Album
ILLUSTRATION BY ERIK FITZGERALD
June 30 marked the end of the 2011/2012 precipitation calendar. Fernwood recorded 16.22 inches of rain this year, well below our average of 21.37 inches. However, as usual, we did get considerably more than the flatlanders. The Los Angeles Times reported the Los Angeles Civic center only received 8.69 inches.
Currently, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 50 percent chance of El Niño returning for the latter half of the calendar year. El Niño conditions are usually (but not always) associated with above average rainfall in Southern California. Given that we live in a semi-arid/semi tropical Mediterranean climate, normal rainfall is normally wildly variable.
In past years, we have recorded drenching years like the El Niño year of 1997/1998, when 45.82 inches of rain fell in Fernwood, and parched La Niña years in 2006/2007 when only 4.62 inches fell. Currently we are parked between El Niño and La Niña conditions in an ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation) neutral condition.