SLO County’s drought designation remains, despite drenching

January 5, 2023

Santa Margarita Lake


Even though storms have pushed rainfall totals well above average for the first week of January, San Luis Obispo County continues with drought conditions ranging from moderate to extreme, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

During the past 24 hours, the latest storm brought between .82 of an inch in Oceano to 3.94 inches in Rocky Butte – a mountain northeast of Cambria.

Climate scientists track rain from July 1 through June 31. Rainfall totals at Rocky Butte have already exceeded yearly averages, according to averages listed on the SLO County monthly precipitation reports. Rain totals have averaged more than 150% of normal across central California, according to the monitor.

Even so, SLO County remains with drought conditions ranging from moderate to extreme, according to the monitor.

Despite the heavy rains, two area reservoirs remain below the 60% capacity expected at this time of year.

Current SLO County and major state reservoir levels:

  • Santa Margarita Lake at 79.2%, SLO County
  • Lake Nacimiento at 38%, SLO County
  • Lopez Lake at 25.5%, SLO County
  • Whale Rock Reservoir at 72.85%, SLO County
  • Oroville Dam 39%, Butte County
  • Trinity Lake at 23%, Trinity County
  • Don Pedro Reservoir at 62%, Mariposa County
  • Shasta Dam at 34%, Shasta County
  • San Luis Reservoir at 36%, Merced County

Rainfall totals from July 1 through Jan. 5, along with average yearly rainfall:

Arroyo Grande – 12.72 inches to date – average 14.09 inches

Atascadero – 10.91 inches to date – average 12.06 inches

Lopez Dam – 17.97 inches to date – average 18.48 inches

Los Osos – 14.13 inches to date – average 15.77 inches

Nipomo – 9.58 inches to date – average 12.62 inches

Oceano – 11.01 inches to date – average 12.26 inches

Rocky Butte – 39.12 inches to date – average 34.75 inches

San Luis Obispo – 11.25 inches to date – average 16.82 inches

San Simeon – 13.27 inches to date – average 15.12 inches

Santa Margarita – 16.32 inches to date – average 16.96 inches

Shandon – 7.64 inches to date – average 8.44 inches

Templeton – 12.29 inches to date – average 13.05 inches

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I no not a agree with these average rainfall claims, therefore I will not buy into whatever mindset is in the works. Example, Santa Margarita’s average rain fall is usually double of what San Luis Obispo gets.

The “claims” are based on scientific readings/data and mathematical calculations… Believe 1+1 is 2? Not everything is a conspiracy and using “usually” an an example is totally ridiculous. Dismissed.

Today, 01/10, the dams are full, homes are flooded, trees are horizontal. So much for drought talk, now the talk is about federal disaster funds. The math just doesn’t work when local history sez different.

Though I’m no climate scientist, these numbers seem very promising! Sierra Nevada snowpack is running 150%-200% average for this point in the annual precipitation cycle. Hope we get TONS more to put a major dent in our drought or end it altogether – at least for now.

Sure, one wet year, and all of a sudden, there’s no need to decrease our use of fossil fuels. All is well. No drought. Nothing to see here. Sure, go ahead and buy that gas guzzling truck.