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Climate and Environment

Has Any Of This Wonderful Rain And Snow Helped Alleviate California’s Drought Conditions?

A map of California show intense red to indicate extreme drought in the center of the state
Even though California's seen a fair bit of precipitation, nearly the entire state is still experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
(U.S. Drought Monitor
/
https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu)
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Topline:

This weekend, Southern California could see yet another storm bring anywhere from one to five inches of rain, and given how dry California’s been, it's felt downright decadent to have multiple early season storms dropping loads of rain and snow. But the drought persists and there’s no guarantee the wet weather will continue.

Just a normal amount of rain: While Los Angeles has seen slightly above average precipitation over the past two months, California as a whole is still lagging behind its historic average, and is still experiencing widespread drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

What about our reservoirs? Reservoir levels across California are still quite low, though they’ll rise as the snowpack melts. A good bit of snow has fallen in the Sierra Nevada, which is important because that’s the source of a significant portion of the state's water. That said, we still need lots more snow to fall if we’re going to hit our historic rainy season average by April 1.

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The bottom line: “We have this cumulative deficit problem that we don’t really think about in California, because we think if it’s raining, the drought is over. It’s not!” said Jeffrey Mount of the Public Policy Institute of California. This is a good start to the rainy season, but the coming months and years matter.

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