Graphic from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center
California received an average of 7.37 inches of precipitation in 2013, 33 percent of normal, making it the driest year on record. In comparison, in 1976 the state received 11.87 inches of precipitation, making it the third driest year. The second-driest was 1898, when the state’s nearly 1.5 million residents received an average of 9.8 inches of precipitation. The state is now home to about 38 million people. In contrast, the state received an average of 42.3 inches in 1983.
-- from Brad Rippey, meteorologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center