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Another dry year for L.A.

April 13, 2013|By Hector Becerra

The National Weather Service forecast “very heavy drizzle” over Southern California this weekend, but “heavy” may be optimistic for a region that has become bone-dry since December, a meteorologist said Saturday.

John Dumas of the National Weather Service in Oxnard said the drizzle that is expected between Sunday night and Monday could amount to no more than a tenth of an inch.

Regular rain, not drizzle, is what Los Angeles needs more of because the city is heading for one of its driest years in recorded history.

So far, L.A. is on track for fourth-driest year — measured from October through June — since 1877. Since the beginning of October, only 5 inches of rain has fallen in downtown L.A.; normal would be 14 inches, Dumas said.

And since January, less than two inches of rain has fallen; normal rainfall is 10 inches during this time.

“It’s been an extraordinarily dry rain season,” he said, adding that the season started out looking good with some strong showers. “Drizzle doesn’t hurt but what we’d like to see are several showers to put some water on the ground, not so much to cause surface flooding but enough to build aquifers.”

Though only a very light drizzle fell Saturday over much of L.A., it was gloomy and cooler than normal. The normal for the day would be 73, but Dumas said temperatures were expected to linger at no warmer than the high 60s.

He said “pretty gusty coastal winds” are forecast from Sunday to Monday night, with areas like such as the Antelope Valley being swept over in particular.

Despite the very dry rainy season, L.A. has already surpassed by almost 2 inches the driest year in L.A.’s recorded history. That was 2005-06 when, despite forecasts of an El Nino in the Pacific Ocean that could lead to a wet winter, L.A. received only 3.21 inches of rain.

The year before, L.A. was soaked with 37.25 inches of rain, which made 2004-05 the second wettest year on record.

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Twitter: @LATimesHekutor |

hector.becerra@latimes.com

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