Environment & Science

LA's rainfall in past 2 years was the lowest in recorded history

The weather station on the University of Southern California campus provides rainfall data for downtown Los Angeles. The past two-year stretch has seen the least amount of rainfall since record keeping began in 1877.
The weather station on the University of Southern California campus provides rainfall data for downtown Los Angeles. The past two-year stretch has seen the least amount of rainfall since record keeping began in 1877.
Jed Kim

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Rainfall for the July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014 data collection season ended with Los Angeles receiving a total of 6.08 inches of rain. It followed a year of even less rainfall and made for the driest two-year stretch in recorded history.

Record keeping began in 1877, and the previous driest back-to-back seasons occurred between 1897 and 1899. During that stretch, 12.45 inches of rain fell. Over the past two years, 11.93 inches fell.  

The National Weather Service maintains a weather station on the campus of the University of Southern California. That station provides the downtown Los Angeles rainfall data. On Tuesday afternoon, the first day of the new data-collection year, the rain gauge shone in the bright sunshine. 

Though the data that the station collects has been an indication of the serious drought, the station itself belied the dry conditions. The station sat fenced off on a lush green lawn, surrounded by bushes and trees.

Passersby were largely at a loss as to the station's purpose. David Dong, an administrative assistant at the university, said he didn't know what the fenced-off pad contained. 

He also said he hasn't noticed any effects of the drought and expects it would take a few more years before they become apparent.

"While I haven't seen any effects immediately in my life, I don't know that I did expect to, because that would be pretty major," Dong said.