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Downtown Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Josh Rose

It didn’t rain at all in Downtown L.A. this February

That’s only happened a few times in nearly 150 years.

Michael Juliano

Remember that week of winter in January? When it rained for a couple of days and even sort-of-snowed for a hot second? It turns out that could end up being one of our only traces of a wet winter this year.

With February now behind us, the National Weather Service has made it official: There was no measurable rain in Downtown Los Angeles in February 2021. Perhaps even more shockingly, that’s only the eighth time that’s ever happened since 1877, when rainfall totals were first recorded there.

L.A. is well below average when it comes to precipitation right now, according to the L.A. Almanac. A typical rainfall season (a period which starts in July) would have seen about 11 inches of rain by now—but we’re almost seven inches below that mark. As woeful as it all sounds, it actually tracks pretty well with a La Niña watch issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in July 2020 that estimated there was just over a 50% chance of a warm, dry winter ahead.

Statistically speaking, all hope isn’t lost if you’re yearning to smell the sweet scent of petrichor again: The NWS notes that in all seven other instances when we had a rain-free February, March was notably wetter with an average of 1.88 inches of rainfall for the month.

Last February—if you can still remember anything prior to this past year—was actually remarkably dry, too; Downtown L.A. only recorded .04 inches of rain in February of 2020, but that was surrounded by a sopping wet December and March. So L.A.’s rainy season isn’t a dud quite yet, but we’re definitely running out of time to make up all of that much-needed precipitation. Hang in there, wildflowers.

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