Since December an atmospheric river has been pushing one storm after another into the state, dropping huge amounts of precipitation. Countless streams and rivers have run over their banks causing some major flooding, but also adding a significant amount of water to soil and reservoirs.
Below: Drought as of January 2016 vs. January 2017 via U.S. Drought Monitor
California Drought on January 5, 2016:
California Drought on January 3, 2017:
All of this precipitation has lowered the extreme to exceptional drought situation experienced in many areas of the state to much improved levels. However, this does not mean that California’s drought is over. Large portion of south-central California is still under exceptional drought levels.
Drought to Improve in 2017?
December 2016 ended with a series of storms that brought more rain than snow. That changed with the New Year with colder storms bringing more snow to the Sierra. The higher Snow Water Content values will really pay off in the months to come when the snow melts and feeds the rivers and streams.
Watch Below: NASA’s infrared images caught rain and snow clouds passing over the region and Pacific Ocean from Friday (January 6) to Monday (January 9)
The overall Snow Water Equivalent for the state shows a very positive 135% of the normal value for this date, and 58% of what is expected to accumulate by April 1st 2017. This a significant improvement from previous years, especially considering that January, February and March are the most active precipitation months in California, and La Niña permitting, more storms will arrive to increase the current snowpack values.