Where is the rain?
As we head into a bone dry mid-November, Bakersfield is moving into record-setting territory for latest start to the rainy season.
Dec. 11 is the latest date on record for the first rainfall of the wet season locally, set in 1995, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford. (The wet season is defined as Oct. 1 through May 1, according to NWS.)
But the second latest start was on Nov. 21, 2018, and the third latest was Nov. 14 in 1952.
With no rain in the 10-day forecast, both the No. 2 and No. 3 records seem within reach.
Does that mean we have a dry winter ahead of us? Perhaps but not necessarily.
Of the eight rainy seasons in Bakersfield with the latest starts, four saw below average yearly rain totals, one was right around average and three were above average. (Average rainfall in Bakersfield is about 6.5 inches.)
While rain seems unlikely in the near term, an improvement in air quality is likely. There are a couple weather disturbances on the horizon that could help break up the high-pressure ridge that's keeping a tight lid on the valley, trapping pollutants, dust and wildfire smoke in the air, according to Jim Bagnall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Forecasts call for a change in the weather pattern for the second half of this week that will cool things down and hopefully clear the air, he said.
"Rain helps wash it out but just breaking that lid that's holding it all in also helps," Bagnall said.