California Annual Rainfall and Climate Data, see below for individual cities
California city precipitation totals
Avg Annual Precip
Avg Annual Snow
|Avg. # days of Precip||
Avg # thunderstorm days
|Avg # hail days||Avg annual wind/highest record wind||# of tornadoes reported in county, 1960-2010|
|Bakersfield||6.49||0.0||37||2||0||6.4 / 49 mph||12|
|Bishop||5.02||8.2||29||32||0||10.0 / 70 mph||0|
|Blue Canyon||68.00||240.0||90||12||0||6.7 / 76 mph||0|
|Eureka||38.10||0.2||117||4||1||6.8 / 56 mph||0|
|Fresno||11.23||0.1||44||5||1||6.4 / 39 mph||23|
|Long Beach||12.94||0.0||32||1||0||6.2 / 44 mph||40|
|Los Angeles||13.15||0.0||35||1||0||7.5 / 62 mph||40|
|Mount Shasta||39.16||104.9||93||13||0||5.1 / 24 mph||0|
|Redding||33.52||4.2||75||11||1||6.6 / 64 mph||1|
|Sacramento||17.93||0.0||58||2||1||7.8 / 74 mph||10|
|San Diego||10.77||0.0||42||5||0||7.0 / 56 mph||25|
|San Francisco||13.15||0.0||66||5||1||10.6 / 58 mph||0|
|Santa Barbara||16.93||0.0||31||6||0||6.0 / 45 mph||5|
|Santa Maria||14.01||0.0||45||2||0||6.9 / 46 mph||5|
|Stockton||13.84||0.0||51||1||0||8.0 / 47 mph||18|
California Precipitation Records
- Driest location ranked by lowest annual average precipitation: Cow Creek, Death Valley, 1.60"
- Wettest location ranked by highest annual average precipitation: Honeydew, northern California, 104.18"
- Snowiest location ranked by highest annual average snowfall: Blue Canyon, central California, 240.8"
- State precipitation record for 24 hours - Hoegees Camp, Arcadia California, 1/26/1942, 26.12"
- State precipitation record for 1 year - Monumental, California, northwestern California, 1909, 153.54"
- State snowfall record for 24 hours - Echo Summit, Lake Tahoe area, 1/4/1962, 67" (5.6 feet), second greatest 24-hour snowfall in U.S. history
- State snow record for 1 season - Tamarack, central California, 1906-1907, 884.0" (74 feet), the U.S record
- Long Beach, California averages only 1.65" of precipitation during December. From December 19 - 22, 2010, Long Beach received 6.65" which is 75% above normal and resulted in the wettest December on record, breaking the previous record of 5.29" set in 1971. In addition, the city received over 1.00" of precipitation for four consecutive days, average is only three days for the entire year.
- On December 19, 2010, many locations in southwestern California broke long-standing daily maximum precipitation records including: Santa Maria (1.86"), Los Angeles Airport (1.62"), Long Beach (1.53"), Pasadena (3.45") and Santa Barbara (1.92"). On December 20, the record-breaking rain continued with a second consecutive day of daily maximum rainfall: Los Angeles Airport (0.98), Long Beach Airport (1.65) and Santa Maria (1.41)
- Bishop, California ranks as one of the driest cities in the United States, but December 19, 2010 was a record-breaker. The city received 3.32" of precipitation, breaking the previous daily record of only 0.15". This was the third wettest day ever and an amazing 66% of Bishop's annual average precipitation of 5.02"
- From December 17 - 21, 2010, the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area received a staggering 13.5 feet of snow, a new record for the snowiest December. This snowfall was eventually beneficial for the Los Angeles area, which receives about 80% of its water supply from the central Sierras
- The Mount Shasta Ski Bowl in northern California holds the U.S. single storm snowfall record with a total of 189" (15.75 ft) on February 13-19, 1959
- Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento all average less than 4 days per year with daily precipitation of 1.00" or greater
- 18% of California's weather reporting stations average 10.00" or less of precipitation per year.
- California's wettest year ever was 1983, with a state precipitation average of 42.33 inches. 45 weather reporting stations received levels of precipitation that normally occur only 1 time in over 1,000 years.
- California possesses two cities that are among the Top 5 driest cities in the nation: Bishop and Bakersfield
- On August 13, 2012 Needles, California endured a brutal heat wave and tied its all-time high of 118 degrees. At 4PM, rain began to fall in the city while the temperature was 115 degrees, breaking the world record for hottest rainfall. The previous hottest rain was at Mecca, Saudi Arabia with 109 degrees on June 5, 2012 and Marrakech, Moroccowith with 109 on July 20, 2010.
- Temperature differences along the coast in the Los Angeles area can be dramatic. At the Santa Monica coast, the average August high is 75 F, while in Burbank approximately 10 miles inland, the average high in August is 90F
- Compared to other parts of the country that typically receive light, powdery snow. The wet, heavy snow that falls in the mountains of California carries a very high water content. Sometimes called the “Sierra Cement,” six inches of snow depth can contain an inch of water; over twice the water content of fluffy, powdered snow. The very high water content that these snows provide is a critical source of water for California
- The most catastrophic California flooding of record occurred in the winter of 1861–1862, when there were record floods over the entire length of the state. During December and January, many places received 200% to 400% of their average rainfall. As a result, the Central Valley became a large (5,000 square mile) inland lake. The size of this lake made it twice as large as the Great Salt Lake and would currently make it the 18th largest lake in the world. The city of Sacramento was under several feet of water, and newly elected Governor Leland Stanford had to be rowed to his inauguration. Weather scientists estimate that the event was a once-in-a-30,000-year event
- On January 1, 1916, rainmaker Charles Hatfield offered to bring rain to a parched San Diego, California for $10,000. He began to burn strange chemicals to summon rain, and it did begin to rain on January 10th. The problem was that it didn’t stop raining for days and damaging floods resulted. The city refused to pay him the money.
California temperature averages and extremes, Top 10 California and U.S. cities in climate extremes, Los Angeles, San Francisco,
San Diego and San Jose averages/extremes, California average freeze dates and precipitation/temperature data for all U.S States
Data sources: National Climatic Data Center, Severe thunderstorm / tornado watch data period is 1999 - 2008, NOAA Storm Prediction Center, Tornado climate data -
NOAA Storm Prediction Center, State lightning flash density average - 1997-2011, Vaisala