A: Joe from Salinas asked us, "The Central Coast went through a long cold snap and the longest period of time without a significant storm. When was the last time the Central Coast had a long cold snap and the last time we had a large storm hit our area?"
Here is Chief Meteorologist Norm Hoffmann with the answer.
Thank you for your question. To really answer your question I would have to do a lot of research, but I will try and answer it as best I can then give you some local resources that you can check if you want to look into the further.
Yes, we have had extended cold events. Generally when we have a La Nina in the Tropical Pacific, temperatures on the Central Coast are below normal & rainfall is near or below normal as well. I bring your attention to December 1990. The Western United States- Extreme cold dropped down from Canada in the second half of December, causing record low temperatures up and down the West Coast, including one of California's most damaging freezes on record. Temperatures around the Central Coast were in the 20s and inland in the teens. That was a La Nina Year.
Other cold waves have effected Central California. 1976 when snow fell to Sea Level around the Central Coast up to San Francisco. That too was a La Nina Year. So to answer your question, Yes we have had extended cold spells and even with snow down to lower elevations and sometimes sea level. I will give you a web site to read the summaries from Dr. Bob Reynard who keeps the Climate of Monterey and writes summaries each month. http://www.weather.nps.navy.mil/renard_wx/
These records on the web only go back to 1992, but the La Nina Years during that time were: 1996, 1999-2001, 2007 & Last year & this year.
To answer your second question, yes we have had extended dry spells, but to have one last most of the winter would be unusual. The last time we have a significant storm was back in Nov 20th. The following is the high & low temperatures and precipitation. Monterey had .45" rain, Santa Cruz .95 of an inch. The previous one was back in October where over an inch of rain fell around the Bay and up to 5 inches in the mountains.
ID : LOCATION ELEV : HIGH/ LOW / PP24HR /
:...MONTEREY BAY AND BIG SUR...
BISC1: BIG SUR STATION 200 : M / M / M /
MTR : MONTEREY NWS 122 : 55 / 46 / 0.45 /
MRY : MONTEREY ARPT 165 : 57 / 47 / 0.41 /
SCRC1: SANTA CRUZ 130 : 54 / 47 / 0.95 /
WVI : WATSONVILLE ARPT 160 : 57 / 47 / 0.79 /
:...INTERIOR MONTEREY COUNTY/SAN BENITO COUNTY...
CVVC1: CARMEL VALLEY 480 : 57 / 41 / 0.45 /
HOLC1: HOLLISTER 275 : 58 / 48 / 0.24 /
KICC1: KING CITY 320 : 55 / 47 / 0.31 /
SNSC1: SALINAS 85 : M / 41 / M /
SNS : SALINAS ARPT 84 : 57 / 48 / 0.47 /
Click on Regional Summaries then Make sure San Francisco is Highlighted Then go to Archived data and go back each day and read the rainfall for the Central Coast. The information is there, but you have to go back and check each day.