CHICO, Calif.- We are starting our winter a little dry and a little warm, but more rain is in the forecast. Some of our wettest months are coming up, so hopefully, we can catch a break. Our coldest months are coming up.
Meteorological winter runs from December through February but the official start for winter, as determined by the winter solstice, starts today.
Our water year in California starts October 1st. Usually, by the time winter starts, we see at least 10 inches of rain but this year, Redding has only seen a little over 3 inches of rain. We're definitely on the dry side of things right now, but it could be worse. The driest we've been at this point in time was with only 0.14 inches of rain in the books. The wettest we've been was when we saw 20 inches of rain from October 1st to the start of winter.
Usually, we see temperatures in the mid-50s this time of year, for the start of winter. The average for today's date in Redding, which has been keeping records since the 1800s, is 54 degrees. Today we've reached the 60s, which is a bit warmer than average. The warmest day ever on the first day of winter was a warm 72 degrees and the coldest maximum temperature in Redding on today's date was actually below freezing at a frigid 29 degrees.
Now that winter is here, what can we expect over the next 3 months?
Winter officially ends on March 20, with the start of Spring.
January through March usually average highs in the mid-50s in January to the mid-60s in March. At this point, there is no reason to assume we wouldn't still see this over our winter season.
Overnight lows average in the mid-to-upper 30s in January and February then finally warm into the low-40s in March.
Rain is the real gift of winter in California. We usually average 4 to 6 inches of rain each month in January, February, and March. If we see even the average amount of rain in winter, it would be a blessing. Right now, we are on the dry side of things, so the hope is we can see more than the average over our winter season, to catch up.