Rain, errors and drought, oh my!

Rain collects on a windshield as traffic zooms by on Golden Valley Road and Center Pointe Parkway. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Good news for those hoping for a greener lawn this spring: the Newhall Pass weather station, has reported a significant increase of rain when compared to last year at the same time, weather forecasters reported Thursday.

And with this, we have a correction. In a story we reported ten days ago, we included numbers from the Saugus weather station. Because the station malfunctioned at some point between Oct. 1 and Dec. 29, the measurement of rain was incorrectly reported to be 1.58 cumulative inches of precipitation.

Ryan Kittell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service said as of Thursday, the Newhall Pass station reported a whopping 6.25 inches of rain received this water year.

Rewind one year to Dec. 29, 2015. At that point, that same station reported 0.97 inches of precipitation.

After employing a bit of mathematics, it was determined the Santa Clarita Valley had received five more inches of rain than this time last year.

Another station at Del Valle in Val Verde generally receives slightly less rain than its partner to the south in Newhall. That station supports this revelation of increased precipitation with a recorded 4.32 cumulative inches of rain for the water year.

Last year? 0.51 inches.

Between the two stations, we’ve received roughly five more inches of rain this water year than last on this date – and during a weak La Nina season, where rain is typically scarce and temperatures are cooler.

And it’s not over — this weekend will be a tale of two storm systems.

Both are forecast to bring about an inch of rain to the region over the New Year weekend. The first system, set to dump between a quarter-inch and a half-inch of water in the Santa Clarita area, will move in from the southwest early Friday morning.

The second system is a chilly gift from our Canadian neighbors to the north. It will move in Saturday afternoon and is likely to bring snow to the Grapevine area of Interstate 5, just north of Castaic. With that, New Year’s Eve closures and delays in the area are very likely.

How does this translate to the drought?

Well, conditions are improving, according to The National Drought Mitigation Center.

In this image from the National Drought Mitigation Center, conditions are improving across California.

Exactly one year ago, 97.33 percent of California was in some sort of a drought-like condition. Today, 68.87 percent of the state remains abnormally dry or in drought.

Areas of the state classified as D4, or those in an exceptional drought condition including Santa Clarita, came down 26.53 percent from 44.84 on Dec. 29, 2015.

As of Dec. 27, 17.47 percent of the state is no longer in a drought.

Castaic Lake’s reservoir water levels as of Dec. 28 are at 54 percent of a capacity of 325,000 acre feet, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The historical average for this time of year is about 69 percent of 256,701 acre feet of water.

Temperature-wise, highs for December 2016 have been below 2015 averages by about five degrees. Nighttime lows for the month, however, have been higher than last year by about the same amount.

Much of that is attributed to moisture and increased cloud cover. Clouds block out the sun and insulate the area at night.

And on a final curious note, the jet stream which is a band of air stretching across California known for influencing the direction of storms will move south.

The stream, which is where some of the strongest winds in the atmosphere are recorded, typically separates polar and mid-latitude regions and ideally keeps northern California cities frosty and southern California beaches worthy of a trip year round.

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