Will El Niño result in significant rainfall in San Benito County this year?? Guess the total annual rainfall for the 2016 water year (Oct. 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016) for the location Priest Valley and win a new rain gauge! The top three closest guesses will be announced on BenitoLink and in the San Benito Working Landscapes Group e-newsletter in October 2016. Your brand new rain gauge will be shipped to you just in time to measure the first rains in 2017.
Please see the graphs of historical data for Priest Valley to help inform your guess.
Priest Valley is located at the southernmost tip of San Benito County, approximately 60 airline miles southeast of Hollister. Highway 198 passes through the valley. Priest Valley was used for the historic rainfall sequence because there is a continuous long-term annual rainfall data set for the location, extending back to 1900 — the longest record for the county and one of the longest for the entire South Coast Range.
An even longer historic annual average rainfall record is available extending back to the year 1400, based on interpreted tree ring data collected from blue oaks in the South County region. According to the tree ring data, the drought of 1861-1864 would have been equally or nearly as severe as the current drought. A graph of tree ring data is available from Ryan O’Dell, Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Hollister Field Office at [email protected] upon request.
Please e-mail your Fantasy Rainfall guesses to [email protected] by midnight on Dec. 31, 2015. Along with your best guess, please provide your name, preferred contact (phone number or email address) and mailing address.