2013 will go down as California’s driest year in recorded history. Redding and Red Bluff both shattered their diest year records, Redding received just 12.8” of rain since Jan. 1 with Red Bluff getting only 5.42” of rain.
The records stretch beyond the Northstate. In Sacramento just 6.12” of rain fell, beating the record low of 6.67” set back in 1976, San Francisco saw 5.6” of rain shattering their record low of 9” set way back in 1917.
And with that little rainfall areas like Red Bluff could be called a desert, at least for 2013 that is.
The US Geological Survey classifies a desert as a region that averages less than 10” of rain each year for an average of 30 years. So Red Bluff, with an annual average of 23.02” of rain doesn’t qualify for that, but in 2013 it was certainly arid enough.
At 5.42” of precipitation, Red Bluff is nearer to the average precipitation of areas like Palm Springs, Calif., Bishop, Calif., and Tonopah, Nev. All of which are in either the Sonoroan Desert or Great Basin Deserts. All three cities are blessed with fewer than 6” of average precipitation per year.
Redding fared better, but still got less than 40 percent of the normal rainfall.
The 12.8” of rain that fell in Redding puts it in the semi-arid climate range. A climate which is similar to Sub-Saharan Africa and the Australian Outback.
For comparison, Redding’s annual rainfall totals are nearer to the climatic normals of Roswell, N.M. and Tuscon, Ariz. Both cities are in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts respectively, and both on average receive just under 13” of rain each year.