Average April, and California’s Drought Continues

The April rainfall for our hometown of Los Altos, California, was almost normal, as we enter the dry summer of our Mediterranean climate, with little rainfall for the next five months during the hottest time of the year. From the blue bars below, the average rainfall for each of the next five months is less than a half inch.

April rainfall near normal
April rainfall near normal

Cumulative rainfall since January 2013 is about a third of normal.

Cumulative rainfall below normal
Cumulative rainfall below normal

April overnight low temperatures were six degrees (F) warmer than normal, continuing the trend this year.

April lows 6 degrees above normal
April lows 6 degrees above normal

The higher overnight temperatures worked in our favor. Tomatoes need overnight temperatures above 50 degrees to set. Observing that the overnight temperatures are higher than normal this year, we transplanted tomato seedlings in late March, a month earlier than recommended. This turned out well for us. Our tomato plants grew in April, and our San Marzano and Cherokee purple plants set fruit by late April. We considered not planting a garden this year, but we decided to continue as usual. We love the flavor of homegrown heirloom tomatoes, and we don’t have a lawn to water.

On May 1, California reported that the “statewide snowpack’s water content – which normally provides about a third of the water for California’s farms and cities — at a mere –18 percent of average for the date”.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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