After experiencing its coldest February in 60 years, storm breaks 135-year-old rainfall record for downtown Los Angeles


The latest winter storm brought record rainfall to downtown L.A., which broke a record set in the 1800s. And more rain is on the way!

LA rain record, LA rain record march 2019
Downtown rainfall in the latest storm broke a record set in the 1800s. More rain is on the way. Picture KTLA

This week’s storm, which drew added moisture from an atmospheric river out of Hawaii, doused L.A. County valley areas early Thursday and broke rainfall records.

After the spectacular lightning show early Wednesday morning and the periods of heavy rain that lingered into Wednesday afternoon, the weather across Southwestern California has quieted down quite a bit in most areas,” noted an NWS statement. 

Record rainfall totals from this week’s storm generally averaged 0.75 to 1.75 inches of rain in coastal areas, 2 to 3.5 inches in the foothills and mountains, and 0.50 inches to 1 inch in the Antelope Valley. Through 7.30 p.m. Wednesday, the highest total was at Opids Camp in the San Gabriel Mountains with 4.12 inches, followed by 3.69 inches at San Antonio Dam in San Bernardino County.

The National Weather Service reports that Wednesday’s 1.25 inches of rain in downtown Los Angeles shattered a 135-year-old record. The old record was .88 inches, set in 1884. The NWS also notes that March 6 — until Wednesday — was the only day in March with a daily rainfall record that was below 1 inch dating back to 1978. 

Several other rainfall records were also set Wednesday — .98 of an inch at Los Angeles International Airport broke the old record of .54 set in 1962; .75 of an inch at Lancaster’s Fox Field broke the old record of .48 set in 1980; and .56 at Palmdale Airport broke the old record of .55 set in 1980. 

A weak storm system was expected to strike the region Thursday evening and produce scattered showers, which could affect the Friday morning commute, although there is no guarantee that will take place, Rorke said. But it will lower the snow level to 4,000 feet. 

Low elevation snow is possible Sunday and Sunday night, impacting major mountain passes,” according to the statement.

Los Angeles had also its coldest February in 60 years

The area should dry out late Friday but another storm system will bring a chance for rain on Sunday and Monday, an NWS statement said. 

Temperatures, meanwhile, were running around 10 degrees below normal, said National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Rorke. He noted that temperatures remained have not reached 70 degrees in downtown L.A. for 36 days, with another seven days of the same expected, which will create the fifth longest such streak. 

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