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Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 Winter Weather Summary


Snow along Blue Ridge and the green skirts of the Tehachapis.

If you weren’t paying close attention, you may have almost missed the wet El Niño weather we were so hoping for. On the cusp between Southern and Central California, Tejon Ranch did benefit from a higher frequency and amount of precipitation from the weather systems that seemed to stay rather north this winter. Although this was not a record precipitation season on the Ranch, analysis of our weather station data show some differences in both temperature and rainfall when compared to the same time last year.

November 2015




Region
Temperature (°F)
Precipitation (in.)
Average
Maximum
Minimum
San Joaquin Valley
50.6
80.5
32.8
1.65
Tehachapi Mtns.
41.6
70.0
21.8
0.49
Antelope Valley
46.8
74.9
26.6
0.98





December 2015




Region
Temperature (°F)
Precipitation (in.)
Average
Maximum
Minimum
San Joaquin Valley
44.5
67.6
31.0
1.15
Tehachapi Mtns.
39.5
66.4
20.3
1.33
Antelope Valley
42.5
70.0
27.0
3.92





January 2016




Region
Temperature (°F)
Precipitation (in.)
Average
Maximum
Minimum
San Joaquin Valley
48.4
65.0
32.4
2.76
Tehachapi Mtns.
42.2
67.7
26.6
2.15
Antelope Valley
44.2
61.4
24.9
2.72

Curiously, both the Tehachapi Mountains and Antelope Valley precipitation data is very similar to the winter of 2015. Due to access issues, we were relegated to using this winter’s mountain weather station data from our office in Lebec, which is probably not indicative of the higher elevations of the range—the real level of precipitation may be higher. The other station data were averaged by region. From our existing data, the real eye-opening difference between our comparative months in 2015 and 2016 was the amount of precipitation recorded in the San Joaquin Valley—a difference of over 4 inches! It’s no small wonder that the Ranch is gloriously abloom this year when compared to last. 
Fields of golden fiddleheads just east of Arvin.

Precipitation (in.)
Region
2015
2016
San Joaquin Valley
1.02
5.56
Tehachapi Mtns.
3.76
3.97
Antelope Valley
8.37
7.62
 
Emerging poppy patches in the Tejon Hills.
Additionally, all regions of the Ranch tended to be several degrees cooler this winter when compared to 2015—until February. February data will be assessed by our fantastic volunteer docents (thank you Richard and Lisa Chapleau!) in a few weeks, but we know anecdotally that last month was unseasonably warm and dry—prompting the lower elevations of the Ranch to burst into early bloom. Peak bloom this early is not a common occurrence, according to Tejon locals. While meteorologists predict a cool and wet March, all bets are off with how the biology of the Ranch will respond to this roller coaster that is modern California weather. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of our quarterly weather saga to see what happens next! Better yet, come out and visit us and see for yourself!