California Rains have Dented Drought. How Much, and for How Long?

February 5, 2023

California local news report on effects of recent rains on drought.

Points out that, while rains have helped, much of the state still remains in drought conditions, although less severe.

NBC 4 Los Angeles:

DWR Director Karla Nemeth pointed out that February “is a traditional wet month that is actually starting off pretty dry” and the forecast is for dryness to continue.

“Does our big January actually bust the drought in California? It’s too soon to tell,” Nemeth said.

Nemeth also suggested that the April 1 date is no longer reliable because climate change is changing the timing of the peak snowpack. She also cited recent years in which runoff has dropped off dramatically and storm conditions have shut down and been followed by excessive dry periods.

“I don’t want to be the downer here,” Nemeth said. “But I do want to make sure that everyone understands that we need to exercise caution.”

The precipitation has filled some reservoirs but others remain below historic average storage to date. Among the state’s largest reservoirs, Lake Oroville was at 65% of capacity and 112% of average as of midnight Tuesday. But Shasta Lake was lagging at 56% of capacity, 87% of its historic average to date.


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