An extremely wet winter has saved much of California from drought and more rain is ahead. This season’s heavy rains and snowfall have “destroyed an exceptional and extreme drought in California” for the first time since 2020, according to the agency. spring forecast published today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Drought in California has subsided, but the state is not yet out of the woods
The agency predicts further improvements throughout the spring, with more regions potentially seeing their dry conditions come to an end. Despite this, California’s recovery will be uneven, and it will take years to replenish some important water sources. On recent storms have already shownthe state will continue to face new flood hazards.
“Climate change leads to both wet and dry extremes”
“Climate change is driving both wet and dry extremes, as evidenced by NOAA observations and data underlying this seasonal forecast,” NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement.
Maps from USA Drought Monitor illustrate the Golden State’s dramatic transition from dry to wet in just a few months. In late December, closer to the start of the winter season, 100% of the state was at least “abnormally dry.”
More than a third of California has been colored bright red to show “extreme drought” conditions on the December 27 map on the left side of the slider below. In this week’s updated drought map, there is no red to the right of the slider. Just over half of the state is now “abnormally dry.”
Record snowfall was the hallmark of the season, which also helps alleviate the drought. The state relies on snowmelt to fill rivers and reservoirs during dry seasons. According to a recent study, the amount of water infiltrating snowpack across the state was 190 percent of the average in early March. grade Department of Water Resources (DWR).
While California needs water, the way it has hit the state this season has been devastating. Communities have been repeatedly hit by rain and snow due to severe storms arriving through river of water vapor high in the atmosphere. Heavy from snow, roofs hit the houses and grocery stores in mountain towns. The last storm left over 300 000 customers without electricity this week. It was the 11th atmospheric river storm to hit the state this season, and another. can get to california by Sunday.
Increased rainfall combined with melting snow puts the state at risk of more flooding this spring, NOAA said in a forecast. It’s too early to tell what an incredibly wet winter will mean for California’s wildfires this year, state climatologist Michael Anderson said at DWR. briefing yesterday. It depends on a variety of factors, including how quickly the snow cover melts, how quickly the landscape dries out, and the timing of spring plant growth and subsequent drying.
California is experiencing “three years of extraordinary drought, and that’s just in our rearview mirror,” Anderson said. In the future, water scarcity will continue to be a problem. States groundwater basinsconsisting of underground aquifers, it will take more than one rainy season to replenish them.
Moreover, Southern California receives a lot of its water from the Colorado River Basin, which has suffered from drought for more than 20 years and is still at the center of heated negotiations over how states would share his dwindling supply.
“We have seen some pretty fantastic weather and we have seen conditions improve in many places. We still have some lingering implications that challenge California,” Anderson said at a briefing yesterday.