What San Francisco’s Nearly Normal Rains Mean for Drought Last Year

During the past water year, San Francisco received nearly 84 percent of its normal annual rainfall. With California likely entering its fourth year of drought, near-average levels are good news.

Friday marks the end of the current water year, a 12-month period that began last October. 1. According to the National Weather Service, the water year totals about 19 inches.

Despite the ongoing drought, it wasn’t one of the driest water years on record for the city. In fact, it didn’t make the top 70.

By comparison, in 2021, downtown San Francisco will receive only about 40% of the precipitation in a normal water year.

Instead, San Francisco is close to reaching its average annual rainfall. But what’s a little fuzzy in the numbers is that the vast majority of rain occurs within two months: October and December 2021. Rainfall in 2022 is less than 3 inches.

“Overall, the rain is good,” said Roger Gass, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office. “But sometimes the timing of the precipitation and the snow can tell a different story.”

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