North Coast in a moderate drought; other parts of state are even thirstier than here

With only 29 inches of rain since January, Crescent City is about to finish its driest year on record, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service.

During the previous driest year, 1976, the area received 33.21 inches, said meteorologist Ryan Aylward. Normally, the area would have received 60 inches of rain.

"We're four inches or so below the record and we're not going to reach 33, so it looks like this will be a record year," Aylward said, adding that no rain is forecast for the rest of December. "It looks that way for the whole state. It's been a very dry year."

The amount of precipitation for the water year is also far below normal for Crescent City. Only nine inches of rain have fallen since July 1, when the new water year began, Aylward said. The area should already have gotten 24 inches, he said.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Del Norte County is experiencing moderate drought conditions. To the south and east, drought conditions in California range from severe to extreme, according to Drought Monitor.

To view regional drought information, visit

Despite the dry weather so far, Aylward said a large storm in January and February could cause the North Coast to recover significantly.

"Right now the forecast is far below normal precipitation, but if we get one big storm we can catch up a lot," he said. "There's still the potential that we can catch up as we go into the spring."

The mild weather is expected to continue through the new year, but folks headed to the beach should be on the lookout for sneaker waves, Aylward said. A storm in another part of the Pacific Ocean is creating large swells that could be hazardous on steep beaches. Those who aren't paying attention to their surroundings could get caught off guard and pulled into the ocean, he said.

Hazardous sneaker wave conditions are expected through Thursday.

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