Los Altos Weather: Dry May

The May weather in my hometown of Los Altos, California, was drier than normal, but still as expected. May is the beginning of our dry season in our Mediterranean climate. We normally receive little rainfall in May, .48 inches, and we received only a quarter of that. We probably won’t see significant rain until November.

Our long drought continues. We continue to conserve water, and our local groundwater continues to improve.

The aquilegia formosa (western columbine) is still blooming. A California native plant, the columbine has 5-cm, red and yellow flowers suspended from 60-cm-tall stalks. To blur the background and other flowers, I used a wide-open, telephoto lens, with a fast shutter speed to get a sharp image in the breeze.

Our normal rainfall in May is only .48 inches, but we received just a quarter of that. Our cumulative rainfall since January 2013 remains at 61%.

May rainfall is a quarter of normal
May rainfall is a quarter of normal
Rainfall since January 2013 is 61% of normal
Rainfall since January 2013 is 61% of normal

Our May temperatures are like the past 3.5 years — normal daytime temperatures and elevated nighttime temperatures.

elevated overnight temperatures continue
elevated overnight temperatures continue

Local groundwater improved

As shown by the groundwater elevation at the Santa Clara Plain Well, the groundwater under our Santa Clara Valley has steadily increased over the past two years. Managed recharge this year is higher than the average of the past 4 years.

groundwater improved (Santa Clara Valley Water District)
groundwater improved (source: Santa Clara Valley Water District)

Our local consumers have reduced water usage 37% over the first three months of 2016 compared to 2013. This reduction is excellent, considering that January to March is our wettest time when landscape watering would be the lowest.



Published by


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.

3 thoughts on “Los Altos Weather: Dry May”

    1. I’m with you! It looks too good to be true…

      I added a reference in my post to the county water board report showing the 37% reduction. (See page 29, Cal Water.) The 37% reduction is gross usage. Our city has large lots with more landscaping to water, so we were using lots of water in 2013, inflating the base and making it easier to show a reduction.
      I checked our per-capita usage from a state report (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/docs/2016may/uw_supplier_data050316.xlsx). This report confirms the usage numbers and reduction in the county report, and the state report shows we used between 51 and 59 gallons per capita-day during January-March 2016. This per-capita usage compares well with other suburban cities.
      Looking around our neighborhood, there are few pristine, green lawns like we used to have. My neighbor loves his lawn, and he just replaced it with a grass blend that needs half the water.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s